Discover more from Adventures In "Journalism" by Sari Botton
Am I Psychic?
Maybe we all are, a little.
I’ve been debating whether to tell you all about my spotty, intermittent, unreliable, mostly good-for-nothing psychic abilities, but here goes.
Throughout my life I’ve occasionally received information predicting events that would soon after come to pass, often during dreams.
One weekend when I was dating the Paparazzo, I borrowed my mother’s car to drive to a wedding in Rhode Island. I parked the car on the street in Manhattan and then spent a fitful night at P.’s place, having nightmares about the car being stolen.
At 5:30 a.m. I got out of bed, announcing, “I think my mother’s car has been stolen.” P. laughed at me and rolled over.
Guess what! I got to the spot where I’d parked the car, and it was nowhere to be found. I studied the street signs to make sure I hadn’t parked illegally; I hadn’t. I went to the local police precinct to see if it had been towed for any other reason, and it had not. The car had, in fact, been stolen.
After filing a police report and being interviewed by the insurance company, I had to catch a ride to the wedding with friends. A month later my mother’s Honda was found in Elizabeth, N.J., up on cinder blocks, stripped of most of its most valuable parts.
Speaking of cinder blocks, a couple of years later I had the idea to get four of them to prop my bed up higher, to create storage space underneath. I lived in a tiny East Village tenement that had only one puny closet.
Cinder blocks were on display at Saifee, my favorite neighborhood hardware store, but how was I going to carry four of those heavy things from the store on 7th Street and 1st Avenue to my place on 13th Street between 1st and 2nd (and then haul them up four flights)? The man behind the counter offered to loan me their wheelbarrow, and I said I’d think about it.
A few days later, on a Saturday, I decided to take him up on his offer. First, though, I needed a nap. I lay down and proceeded to dream that someone else went and got the cinder blocks for me, delivering them to my door. I then awoke, put on my coat, opened my apartment door and found…four cinder blocks waiting for me in the hallway, blocking my path. My jaw was on the floor when the super came down the stairs from the floor above and said, “I’ll get those out of your way in a minute…”
“Are you getting rid of them?” I asked.
“Can I have them?” He looked at me like I was crazy, but said he was only too happy to let me take them. I’d saved him the work of carrying them the rest of the way downstairs.
My most notable recent psychic dream occurred about a year ago, in February, 2019. In it, a mean boss from the 90s was the bartender at a venue up in the clouds, at the top of a mountain on which I was having difficulty finding secure footing. (Maybe it was heaven?) When I saw he was the one serving drinks and made eye contact with him, I got so freaked out, I turned to leave.
“No, don’t go,” he said. “I’m not going to be mean to you again. I’m so sorry for how I treated you. Please accept my apology.”
It was one of those dreams that felt so eerily real, I had to remind myself of what reality was when I woke from it. I had not thought about that man in 20 or more years; I did not want to think about that man. His cruelty toward me was the reason I’d quit my job.
As the day went on, I had trouble shaking the dream, so I emailed a friend who’d worked with me back then, and told her about it in great detail. Five days later, she texted me. “Did you hear about ______?” He’d just died the night before she texted me, after a couple of weeks on his deathbed in the hospital.
In equal measure, obituaries praised him as a genius and called into question how harshly he could treat people — his editorial staff, the people we covered. In one, a former colleague even mused about whether his abuse toward his reporters might have been the result of abuse he’d endured as a child. It was very validating.
I’m not sure what I believe about psychic phenomena. I’ve been to enough psychics in my life to suggest my openness outweighs my doubt.
I have a strong hunch that some underdeveloped part of the brain can perceive information beyond our five senses. And that that underdeveloped brain part sometimes allows us to connect with the thoughts of other people, beyond traditional modes of communication. I have a vampire of an ex, for example, with whom I have always had a strong psychic connection, for better and worse.
In the case of ______, I firmly believe that on his deathbed, he had been reviewing with regret the times in his life he’d been shitty to people, and I came up.
I’ve also had enough disappointing psychic readings to glean that it’s near impossible to consistently pick up those kinds of messages on demand. That said, there is an area in which I have regularly heeded…I don’t know…some kind of intuition?
Five times now, I’ve made a decision, often on the fly, that allowed me to introduce two people who seemed like they were just…supposed to meet. Five couples have gone on to get married because something seemingly outside of me told me as I was on the way to meet up with X, I should take a second to call Y, and see if Y was free to join us.
I don’t understand it, but it’s happened enough times that when I get the inkling, I pay attention to it, and act on it. I’ve tried to harness it, once even making business cards and taking referrals from friends. But it doesn’t seem to work that way.
Whatever this is, it’s beyond my control. In matters of love, I’m nothing more than some kind of unwitting vector. I’m fine with that, because I’m a writer, not a matchmaker. And I’ve got lots of work to do.
(*Expect typos in this newsletter and you will not be disappointed.)