According to Chinese lore, August is the month where dead spirits roam the earth in search of a body to possess. Do not, my mother's friend Sue used to say, ever ever astral project in August. She'd shake her head at the folly of those stupid enough to attempt such a thing during the dead roaming the earth month, those who could lose their bodies to some hungry ghost. Sue would then light up a cigarette and ask for some herbal tea to calm her nerves. I hated tea, but I'd force down a little so that she could read my leaves after I overturned my cup and spun it on a saucer where the leaves would make indecipherable patterns. I see a long future, Sue would say. I was only seven so this gave me some comfort. The rest is kind of unclear except that your love life will be very complicated.
Man, that sucked. I had drunk something other than Dr. Pepper only to hear that I had a long future and a complicated love life. Right then, I had a crush on the boy next door which seemed to be going nowhere. Couldn't she have thrown in something about a letter from a distant country at least? Or living in interesting times, something that everyone is almost bound to do? I wanted to hear about how I would live in New York City and wear beautiful coats and work in a huge office building well into the night. That was the most romantic thought I could imagine. Instead, I lived in a town where people's idea of fun was putting a cookie on a rattlesnake's head and trying to snatch it off without getting bit. I sat at the table for a long time, looking at my leaves, trying to discern the future from the murky bits. They seemed to be going in every direction. It was August, and summer would be ending soon, I thought, as I washed the plate clean.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"If you're going to make a mistake, make it a doozy." Billie Jean King
The Billie Jean King
2 ounces of Gatorade mixed with 2 ounces of vodka
Serve as a martini. The Gatorade helps with the hangover by providing electrolytes.
Benedictions and Maledictions
In answer to Jim's questions about who watches soap operas:
I don't watch traditional soap operas anymore, but I still have a fondness for "All My Children" and recognize the characters when I see it on television since they haven't changed since my birth for the most part. I think a lot of things are at work with a soap opera -- for me, any story that doesn't end (family saga especially) is interesting. I tend to attach to characters as if they were real and part of my family. (That might explain an ugly 90210 addiction for a few years.) It doesn't matter how good or bad the show is, the serial nature of it keeps me enthralled. As for other factors, some scholars suggest that soap operas are the only arena in which women's emotions are taken as seriously by men. Since nobody works on soap operas, they all have time for this kind of drama. I also think people are inherently starved for stories and drama and in a fragmented, disjointed age, the irony is that television provides grounding. I can turn on "All My Children" and see the same stories and in many cases, the same actors, that my great grandmother watched so many years ago.