“We’re all so disconnected,” she said. “Look how long it took for us to get together again.”
The irony of her statement was shocking and it made me think, it’s not we, it’s mostly you who’s disconnected – from me as well as much of reality.
“Yeah. A long time,” I said. “Sorry.”
I hate being dishonest but I wasn’t sorry because every time we get together, Heather’s predictably primed to go on and on about star alignments and crystals and humility dealt out on cards with drooping roses, a bunch of shit that feels like chewing on aluminum foil to entertain. I always try redirecting the conversation to something else but Heather’s so desperate for understanding, it’s like pulling a stubborn mule to get her off-track – a truly unpleasant way to spend any Saturday, for sure.
“I think it’s modern technology,” she said. “We need to get back in touch with ourselves. Our whole-selves.”
Oh, boy, I thought. More of this shit. Crystal healing instead of cell phones? Please, God, no.
I considered if another double would help but I can’t always judge the booze. Sometimes it looses me up like the sugar to her medicine of bullshit. Other times, it makes me defensive, loosening the guard I keep over the raw reactions her bullshit provokes.
“In some ways I agree. As the old ways of connecting pass, new ones pop up,” I said. “But I think what’s happening is they allow us to burrow deeper and deeper into our own bullshit. We burrow so deep it gets hard to climb back out.”
“What do you mean?”
“People are filled with a lot of bullshit,” I said. “Political, religious, spiritual, conspiratorial bullshit. Modern technology allows us to find communities that humor us in our bullshit. Even reinforces it. Then we come out of the burrow – out into the real world – expecting other people to identify with our stinking piles of bullshit. Or, even worse, to humor us in the ways we’re humored in our online burrows. But real people don’t play that.”
I looked to Heather for confirmation or denunciation. She gave none.
“Or, we come out to other people who are too caught up in too much of their own bullshit too that they can’t displace enough of it to make room for ours. Or, you see their bullshit for what it is and it distresses you in your free time to have to humor it for any more than an hour or two so you distance yourself from it and them.”
“Wow. You’re really out of harmony,” Heather said. “I’ve got some Ashwagandha Tea in my purse. Go home and take it before bed.”
In days past, her suggestion might have been to more deeply contemplate the Five Luminous Mysteries. I mostly ignored her suggestions back then just as I ignored this one about Ashwagandha Tea.
“All their bullshit about Jews or gender or Bigfoot. Or how another Civil War’s gonna start tomorrow – all because of the misdeeds of the other side. Then, when it doesn’t happen, they never stop to question how or why they got to believing that untruth. All that kind of shit, see?”
“I think more meditation would help most people. And more humanity and humility. And getting in touch with nature. Going organic or maybe full-on vegan. Have you thought about veganism?” she asked.
“No,” I said.
“You can’t discount what all the hormones and preservatives are doing to people. That’s really where you need to look. Look deep. There’s excellent documentaries about it.”
I continued, “I got one guy who wants to go on and on about his conspiracies. And they mean so much to him, like how the government controls the weather and deep state and Illuminati stuff. I get his desire to share and spread the word. And, for me to have some profound understanding of him, I can only have that with some profound understanding of how his conspiracies affect his understanding of the world. I get that’s why it’ so deeply important to him that people understand. But, at the end of the day, I can’t entertain it as anything more than nonsense. I simply can’t. Can’t. Can’t Can’t. So, there’s an inherent disconnect between us, see?”
“You need to meditate. Or what about Wing Chung? I think you could benefit from Wing Chung to develop your Chi. Or there’s different meditations: Zazan, Maitrī, Qigong, Vipassanā. I can set you up,” Heather said. “You seem deeply imbalanced.”
Like me, Heather grew up Catholic. I always figured that when her mother’s rosary and statue of Mary and paschal candles didn’t give the results she liked, she just turned them in for a bunch of other trinkets and the ways of understanding things that went before or trailed behind them.
Heather added, “Some people claim you can attain superpowers through meditation and enlightenment.”
“Like what?” I asked. “Like lighting-fast speed?”
Consideration of whether or not I might become more Flash-like by means of contemplation wasn’t an inducement to her side.
“No. Like knowledge of past lives. Like being able to levitate. Like walking on water.”
“Uh huh,” was all I could say.
“You don’t believe it?” she asked. “None of it?”
“No,” I said.
“Why not? You’re not open-minded enough.”
“I don’t believe it because I shouldn’t believe it. Case closed,” I said. “Why would I want to convince myself of anything that absurd?”
“You should look into it. Broaden your horizons,” she said.
“I find it interesting how often the people complaining about disconnect are the ones so often spending so much time online connecting with people who think the same way they do. There’s an irony there, I think.”
“Are you trying hard enough to understand those people?”Heather asked. “Maybe your root chakra’s blocked. You can’t build on a bad foundation, Keith. I can get you some organic Nippon Kodo incense from a shop I know of in Over-the Rhine. It’s expensive but it might help.”
I prayed she wouldn’t ask me about the chakras, however many there are. I’d been tortured through the lecture a few times already and couldn’t take it again. Yet, I vaguely recalled how in one of her sermons, Heather mentioned the third-eye chakra and how it was responsible for intuition. It seemed to me I didn’t need much yoga or reiki healing to intuit the bullshit in most of what she was saying.
“There’s a point of necessary judgement,” I said. “Judgement seems to be getting a bad rap these days. There was a guy that called into a radio show one time suspecting he was a werewolf. I remember listening. He laid out his case about the full moon and all kinds of shit. It was sort of interesting and entertaining but doesn’t change the fact that before or after his explanation, I didn’t believe he was a werewolf. The entertainment aspect aside, it was otherwise a waste of time and regardless of how passionately he might have thought he was a werewolf, I never should have considered it. Never should have considered it for an instant.”
“It takes time, effort and a true willingness to ever understand people,” Heather said.
“Maybe we’re driving one another nuts with all our collective bullshit,” I said. “Maybe we’ve created an insane world filled to the top with all our nonsense. Filled is with so much nonsense there’s no more room for real sense. No wonder people are going apeshit. But I’m not gonna spend that much time trying to figure out why a guy spends his weekends tracking down Bigfoot. It could be mildly entertaining for a while, but all his theories and collections of evidence and collections of concrete footprints and petrified Bigfoot dung, I don’t have time for it. It’s not selfish. I’m just not getting dragged into that world of his nonsense. It might be interesting from a psychological standpoint, which he misconstrues as me having an interest in what he’s interested in. Then, when I back off, he claims I don’t care about him. Well, in a way, I don’t and shouldn’t. And I’m not sure that him having a dozen Bigfoot forums and channels to hang around are doing him that much good either.”
“You seem angry,” Heather said. “You can’t get yourself in order without knowing your birth chart. Do you have a birth chart? I can get you one for your phone.”
“I’ve heard the argument that I’m not tolerant enough. I also understand that people can be stubborn in their bullshit. And you don’t need to be a genius to detect it and, in some ways, you owe it to yourself to avoid it. Stupid can rub off if you entertain enough of it – like secondhand smoke. And there comes a point when I’m not going to drive myself cuckoo trying to identify with every nutjob’s insanity.”
“You’re a cynic,” she said. “And an only child. You’re a pisces and today is….”
Heather pulled out her phone.
“Today: MOON CONJUNCT URANUS IN TAURUS,” she announced. “That’s it. That’s why you’re having such a bad day.”
“That means nothing to me,” I said curtly.
Heather put her phone down.
“Maybe you need to cleanse your aura. I’ve got smudge sticks,” she said.
I figured an colonic cleanse would do me a hundred times better than her aura cleanse.
“Think I’ll pass.”
“Maybe what’s going on politically is messing up your aura. It’s our soiled collective political consciousness. And conscience. They’re linked. That and Mars Retrograde. Your life rhythms – your psycho-spiritual energies – are off. These things affect us all, you know.”
I humored her with, “Maybe.”
“I worry about you during the Ascension Cycle,” she said.
“Thanks, but don’t,” I said.
“What about tarot? You have any interest in tarot? Psychics?”
“You should consider it,” she said. “Today, for me, it was 7 of Wands/9 of Wands/5 of Coins all reversed. No wonder I’ve been feeling so much Fire Energy.”
It seemed to me like Heather was babbling like a infant or somebody shitfaced.
“No, Heather. I just can’t consider it,” I said. “I don’t even know how to play a musical instrument.”
“You don’t need to know music to understand tarot,” she explained.
“No. My point is, why waste my time on moon cards when I could put that effort toward learning guitar?”
“But will you?”
“No. But still, it’s far higher on the list of priorities should I need to decide.”
Exasperated, Heather shook her head.
“See what I’m trying to do here, Keith? Trying to connect. Trying to understand you better. But you haven’t listened to anything I’ve asked or said, have you? I try giving you advice on improving your well-being and all you want to do is ramble on and on about what’s wrong with everybody else. Ramble on and on and get drunk. I try giving you advice and you blow it off as nothing. I’m trying to help but you’re not willing to stop for even a second to think about tarot and whether it might help. And who else is trying to help you? But you blow me off – all the while windbagging your theories on why we can’t connect. You don’t see the irony in that?”
“Thanks, Heather, but I could think about tarot for weeks and my mind won’t change.”
“How do you know if you won’t try?”
“There’s only so much I can try and tarot do doesn’t seem like the best choice. And I know it in the same way I know the sky’s blue.”
“You don’t know that. Not really. You’re too attached to your senses. Your imperfect sensory input. You’d realize that if you meditated. You take what what the senses give you for granted, that’s all.”
“It works well enough for me. And as much as you don’t wanna believe it, it works well enough for you too. That’s all I need to know.”
I excused myself to the restroom. I wondered if there was a way of drowning myself in a urinal. I pissed and thought about never going back to Heather or much of anybody else but knew I had to. I thought about ordering another double but decided no. Too much booze fucks up the way I think and I didn’t need any more of that as the other forces were plenty strong enough.