November 2006 – April 2007
Shortly after my 20th birthday, I found myself working two dead-end jobs at a mall in Rockland, NY. One of the jobs, my primary one, was at a music venue and restaurant on the fourth floor, and the other was working daytime weekday hours at the small laser tag and arcade establishment on the outskirts of the food court. The laser tag job was pretty easy, and really allowed me to develop my customer service skills; however, it did provide a little hint of comical irony that still gives me a chuckle from time to time.
At the time, I was living at my father’s house upstate in Middletown, NY. The commute was a little over an hour each way, and certainly proved to put a strain on both my finances and my sleep schedule. One night in November, while driving up the Thruway, I got a call from my sister to catch up and see how I was doing. I entertained her for a moment or two before expressing interest in getting off the phone because I was driving, and hung up shortly thereafter. About 30 seconds later, she called me back. I picked up, wondering why she had called again, and her words were, “Oh, I forgot to tell you something! BE CAREFUL!”
Very confused, I asked her to elaborate, and she told me that, shortly after my birthday party, just a month or so prior, my mother had decided to visit a psychic in Manhattan for fun. The psychic told her no useful information aside from the generally dreary information they usually pump out like, “There is a great deal of discomfort in your life related to your past.” and crap like that. Of course, that was until she got up to go leave and the psychic grabbed her quickly and asked, “Do you have a son, about 19 or 20 years old? He’s a musician?” which prompted her to say yes and sit right back down.
The psychic then told her that I’d be getting into some trouble regarding having a child in the next year and a half or so, and that I should watch my behavior to avoid such things from happening if they were unwanted. I laughed at this, shrugging it off as coincidence, until my sister told me the next part of the story.
She then went on to tell me that, about a month later, she was at a Halloween party amongst friends, when her acquaintance jolted for a moment, pulled on her arm and, without any talk of the subject, brought me up and announced that she believed that I was going to be responsible for the birth of a child in the next year and a half.
Now, at this point, I’d pulled over to the side of the road and began freaking out and having heart palpitations because I did not want to be supporting anything more than myself in the next year and a half, let alone providing influence to a child. My sister ended the conversation by saying, “Yeah, so just please be careful.” and we hung up the phone.
I spent the next several months avoiding contact with most females that seemed to provide any sort of flirtation, and became very familiar with my right hand. It was the most brutal few months of my life.
One afternoon, I was working the laser tag place during my usual shift, when I looked up from the counter to see an absolutely, positively stunning, undeniably gorgeous Spanish girl, who looked to be about 19 or so, standing over me. I couldn’t even put a solid sentence together without fumbling or being nervous; it was bad.
She asked me if the owner/manager of the place was around, to which I replied that he wasn’t and had been spending a lot of time at home with his wife. She then told me that she used to work for him when he was on the fourth floor, but had spent some time in Florida and was now trying to see if she could get her old job back. Oh, goodie!
Within about a week or so, she was working for the company again, and making my recent behavioral decision to avoid contact with attractive females quite difficult. It didn’t help that she was dangerously flirty by nature, something I tried extremely hard to counter with awkward and fumble-laden rants about life and music. Still, despite my efforts to appear as a total jackass (though, I’m not sure how much effort it really took), she seemed to enjoy, at the very least, general conversation with me, and remained the unattainable gold medal in a race in which I could not participate. It was, to say the least, frustrating, especially when she would sit on the counter top, seductively allowing just enough of her stomach and back to come peaking out of her shirt and low-rider jeans to drive me crazy as she shot glances that reminded every white boy in a viewing distance that they didn’t have a chance in Hell from her perch atop the hot girl pedestal of excellence. She made work impossible for me.
I think the owner sensed the tension, at least on my end, too. He used to call during my shifts, monitoring the cameras, to tell her to get off the counter tops, or to make sure we weren’t doing anything bad if I spent too much time helping out in the back during any of the laser tag games. Either he was pretty damn sharp or I truly was as much of a jackass as I would guess I appeared, my guess is the latter.
After several months of working together, my tolerance for even the slightest suggestive motion had reached an all-time low. I’d get an erection just thinking about a woman’s leg which, in the age of internet porn and unlimited access to the most desensitizing material imaginable, was pretty pathetic to say the least.
One afternoon, during a dead shift with barely any customers, we were behind the counter shooting the shit, when the subject of sex came up. Sure, genius, that’s a great idea.
She asked me when the last time I’d had sex was, the answer to which was late August of the previous year, about a month before my birthday, with a brief fling I’d had that summer that left for college and never looked back. Of course, the next question that was broached was why I hadn’t had it since then. I started to reply with my abstinence story, but stopped myself short, realizing how totally and completely ridiculous it really sounded.
When she asked me to elaborate, I finally caved in and told her the story my sister had told me and was shocked to find that she surprisingly didn’t seem to be phased by it at all. She even followed-up with, “Oh, I don’t find that strange. My mother has psychic predictions every now and then. She recently predicted that I was going to be impregnated by some black guy. Ridiculous, right?”
The conversation continued for a few more minutes until it was interrupted by customers and I was saved from the awkwardness of not being able to do or say anything about my attraction for another day as my shift ended and the evening key-holder arrived.
As I walked to my next job, I replayed the conversation over in my head, trying to read the subtext of everything that had just occurred, as I often do, when a revelation hit me:
What if her mother’s prediction was mis-interpreted?
I stopped dead in my tracks, dropping my bag as a horrifying thought made its way from my brain to my central nervous system, temporarily paralyzing me as I became overcome with fear. I started sweating something fierce and began to talk to myself, just steps from the top of the escalator I had just gotten off of and started to mutter, “Some black guy. Some black guy. Some black guy! Some black guy? Some… JOHN BLACK GUY!???”
I quickly picked up my bag, ran to my next job, into the back office, bursted into my friend and manager’s office, smashed my fists onto his desk and screamed, “I AM THE BLACK GUY!”
At this point, I’d like to acknowledge how strange my life, from the time I reached the top of the escalator to the moment I arrived at the office, probably looked to anyone who witnessed it.
When I calmed down enough to actually tell the tale of the previous hour or so, my friend, the manager, who knew the details of my mother and sister’s fiore into the world of the psychic as well as just how attracted to this girl I was, laughed in my face for a good two minutes without so much as pausing to breathe. Thanks, jerk.
I was terrified. For the next several weeks, I would not give her the time of day. Every time she’d try to talk to me, I’d give her one word responses and try to remove myself from the situation. I’d now gone from awkward-but-cute nerdy musician type to just straight asshole, and it remained that way until I got my first serious full time job shortly thereafter and I quit the double grind, never to see her again.
So, there you have it. Psychics saved me from having a child.