Monday, December 3, 2012

Slippery Sacramento Pyschics

Today? Monday? I was as unproductive as unproductive can be. Let me show you why.....
Saturday was a Psychic Faire in Aptos. This was billed as a "mini" faire but was really more of a "micro". It was held in a yoga studio, and instead of stations or stalls to set up our tables and chairs in, all of the psychics and healers were instead issued yoga mats to define our spaces. Okay, fine. Cozy, we can do: 15 of us were packed into a 15' by 30' space. The talk of the room though was on two other factors:

  1. The chairs available were metal, no padding, and instead of a back there was just a loop of metal: Instant uncomfortability. I didn't even know chairs like this existed. There oughta be a law. What this meant was that we never had to coax our guests that a reading was over. 15 minutes was the limit that they could take in these torture chairs, and then POOF! they were up and gone. We readers though were there all day. Luckily my numerology neighbor took pity on me and let me borrow an extra cushy chair that he had brought. (and the first thing I did when I got home on Saturday night was put my nice folding chair in the trunk of the car.)
  2. Yoga floor means no shoes. For any of us. So the attendees to this 'faire' were made to take off their shoes, or don light blue bootie covers. Meaning everyone who walked in looked like they were attending a sleepover, or they worked in a hospital.

Chair of Torture. "I'll talk! I'll talk!"
Not there was a huge sample size. My minimum 'meet expenses' threshold for the day was only two readings. Guess what? In five hours, two readings.

I spent most of the day grousing with the other readers, which for a beginner like me, was invaluable. Learning which shows are good, which companies to sign up with, and the ins and outs of travel, setting up your booth, business cards and signs - all of this I need to learn.

One thing everyone said was to go to the Sacramento show.

So after a very early bedtime I was on the road at 4am on Sunday. Took 17 - 880 - 680 - 80 all the way to Sacred City.

In the worst rain storm to hit NorCal in years.

All was fine through San Jose and on through the East Bay; light to steady rain. Not a problem for an old courier like myself. About a mile South of the Martinez-Benicia Bridge though the intensity of the rain doubled and a fierce cross-wind suddenly struck.
No, really, it was much better to hydroplane on this in the dark.
At the toll booth I had a brief shouting conversation with the poor soaked guy and neither of us heard a word that the other was saying.

And on the 150 foot high bridge the insane quantity of water was too much for the drainage, and poor Hymie the Hybrid was left spinning its wheels, which then allowed the cross-wind to drag us from one lane to another, pretty much at will. 

Luckily it was too dark to see anything way up there, and there were hardly any cars up there with me. What to do? You can't just turn around on a bridge. Pull over? Where? I can't see the end of the hood, let alone where the side of the bridge is. And oh, what a juicy target I would make. So, you push on, slowly, counter-steering where you can, remembering to breathe, and hoping there is a public restroom up ahead somewhere.

I'd swear that quarter mile bridge was 10 miles long that morning.
On the Benicia side of the slip-n-slide-in-the-sky the wind died down, but the rain continued to hurtle down.
The main room at 7am, before all of the 'pole & drape'
stalls have been put in place. 
I pushed on, "It's a good show" ringing in my ears.

Between and Vacaville and Fairfield were several more instances where there was just too much water on the ultra-modern Interstate Highway and we all hydroplaned in random directions. It's unnerving because you never know when it'll happen, on which axle, and for how long. And suddenly you are sliding - or sailing - sideways, and your motor says you are doing 100mph, and then it stops and you are jerked back - or forward - or wherever you last had the damn car pointed.

What traffic there was quickly slowed to school zone speeds and we all spaced ourselves far apart by tacit agreement. Oh, and sudden debris on the road appearing in your headlights. That'll keep you awake.

The parking lot at 9am, axle-deep in water.
I've done more than my share of night driving and I don't recall that I ever actually wished for the sun to rise, solely for the ability to see what the hell was going on.

I considered turning around, but that nightmare bridge was that-a-way. Uh-uh!

I reached the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Northeast Sacramento at 7am, arriving there just before the surface road behind me flooded completely and blocked all traffic from getting to the 'faire'. The plan was for me to do the Psychic Faire and then drive to a KOA camp across town and stay the night there.

One of the more elaborate set-ups. What
you can't see is the light show and the
music. Impressive!
haha! - right. I checked into the Crowne Plaza Hotel at 7:05am. I still had an hour until the convention area opened, so I just kinda sat in my hotel room and 'didn't drive' for awhile. Once recovered I dried off my equipment that had gotten wet in the short walk from the car to the room and sent a cheery text to Admiral Karen: "Just arrived - Nice place!"

The Psychic Faire - sorry = "Holistic Holiday Expo" was one of the larger venues for the NorCal circuit - probably 40 presenters, live music, and a separate large room for lectures. And I wasn't kidding, it IS a nice place. But what a nightmare load-in! The main road to the hotel was shut down by the CHP, the parking lot was quickly under about 8 inches of water, everyone had been sliding in the dark to get here, and I suddenly remembered that now that New Orleans suffered through Katrina the number one city for catastrophic flooding was the one I was currently in. Oh my.

I set up at my appointed stall, and then the owner of the show comes by and points out several other places I could be, as many vendors had cancelled, were trapped, or had crashed getting here. Oh, thanks. Ulp.

Set up was from 8-10am, and at the opening bell there were still presenters arriving, wet and wild-eyed.

So, the day sucked, right?

Nope. Just the opposite, in fact. The rain slackened, the water went down, the road opened and the crowds arrived, and here's the thing: They hadn't endured what we idiots had, but they had still gotten out in a major rainstorm to come to this event, and they were all kinda googly-eyed with excitement. So there was this zany energy running around the room. Shared adventure.

And I cleaned UP. I read my clammy tarot cards steadily from 11am to 5pm. I had 12 readings in all, which are supposed to be 20 minutes long, but usually slop over closer to the 30 minute mark. So I was pretty much engaged from the second hour to the last. I barely had time to stretch my legs or see any of the other vendors.

The rest of the Holistic Psychic Holiday Faire Expo was the usual mixture of the Gifted and the Marketed, the Seers and the Hucksters. Channeling the Universe along with snaring the pigeons like a sideshow carnival barker. Conjuring Wisdom cheek-by-jowl with Snake Oil Salesman. It's a wild scene, and one that I try not to see. I just keep my head down in my little stall and read my little picture cards for whoever stops by. I have learned a lot in my first year of working the 'Psy-Circuit', and managed to pay my expenses as well. And hopefully I have helped a lot of people who have entrusted me with their problems and stories.

Traffic dropped off in the last hour, as it always does, so I packed up my crate and table and adjourned to my hotel room. So nice to be able to do that. And thanks to the prosperous day I still broke even on the roadtrip, even with this added expense.

Tired? Well I had been up since 4am, experienced a solid hour of pants-filling terror before dawn broke, drove 175 miles, and then gave my all to a dozen petitioners for 6 hours. Yeah, I was a little tuckered.

But also insanely hungry. I ventured tentatively outside again, only to find a mild evening and stars in the sky. It was almost as if the storm had never existed, until I encountered all the debris still on the streets, the dirt and trash everywhere, and the random bumpers and car parts that had been tossed to the side of the road. Oh.

Dinner was the finest Double-Double with onions that I could find. Sacred City may have exquisite cuisine to offer, but I had had enough exploration for one day.

Back in the hotel room I pretended to watch Sunday Night Football but really I was giving myself over to the love of french fries.

I hadn't brought my laptop, and I was too braindead to be able to concentrate (or stay awake) through a movie. But sitting on the TV was a Nintendo 64 controller. So I played an hour of Super Mario Kart and Pilot Wings. Woo-hoo! That's how we roll in Sac-town!

I was asleep by 8pm and didn't wake up for 11 hours. Outside my door was a copy of USA Today, which I placed next to the N64 controller. Motels do seem to be trapped in a 1995 time capsule. Made me want to write to the Unabomber about O.J. being found not guilty on my Windows 95 Operating System.

Monday morning was the first time I had seen Sacramento in the daylight, and I was kinda impressed. The nickname "City of Trees" is legit. It really is a forest with a city inside. There was a freshness to the air, and a giddyness to still being alive.

Feeling jaunty I decided to try an alternate way home. No, I was NOT scared of recrossing the Benicia Bridge. Not at all. Nuh-uh. Stop looking at me like that.
I took the Interstate 5 - 580 - 680- 17 tack home, down through Stockton, over to Tracy and Livermore and then skirting Silicon Valley for the end around through downtown San Jose to Highway 17 and Santa Cruz. Same mileage: 175 miles.

Back home at 11am I was suddenly weary. I stayed awake through Karen's lunch hour visit and then I crashed again for a 3 hour nap.
And THAT'S why this Monday has been such an unproductive day.
But hey, I DID write this 1,800 word excuse for my sloggardyness. So, there's that.  
Good night.

Angus McMahan


  1. What an adventure! I'm so glad that after all the trauma in getting there that it was a great show for you. I was afraid that it was going to be cancelled or something.

    Isn't it amazing how good even mediocre food can taste when you are that hungry?

    1. Cancelled? Nah, the show must go on! And yes, that was an especially tasty In-N-Out experience.

  2. I'm jealous of your In-n-out dining and 11 hours of straight sleep!