Occasionally, I zip out to the 3rd Street promenade in Santa Monica to catch the carnival-like atmosphere on the strip.
As the winter doldrums slip into oblivion, and spring's lazy sunny days surge forward, the festive street starts teaming with locals and tourists alike.
For most, an idle hour or two sifting through an artist's wares (or munching on a snack as a struggling musician plays away for cash donations) is a respite from it all.
And, of course, there is the spectacular ocean view to dazzle nature-lovers just a few blocks away.
On Saturday night, as I strolled through the crowded mall, I had the urge to have a "psychic" reading by one of the street gypsies.
Just as the thought crossed my mind, I happened to turn a corner to head down to 2nd Avenue, when I stumbled on a middle-aged tea leaf reader by the name of Patricia McCarthy Donnelly (with a bit of a bohemian flair wafting about her effervescent presence) setting up shop.
Within minutes, I was ensconced in a comfy chair, as Ms. Donnelly instructed me on how to focus, so that the waiting spirits would be enticed to descend on us from the great mystical beyond with messages galore.
Right off-the-bat, it was obvious to moi, that the woman who bills herself as an Irish Tea Leaf Reader was authentic.
How, pray tell, did I know that?
For starters, as my Tattler readers are keenly aware, I am also "psychic".
Notwithstanding, it was obvious me the woman was not just reaching out to individuals with the sole intent of "cashing in" on her gifts, because she never demanded that greenbacks be forked over up-front which is usually the case with scoundrels and charlatans.
In addition, her table was set up in such a way, that I knew - in my heart of hearts - that the lady was seriously interested in fathoming up spiritual guidance for her subjects.
It was the little touches - the pretty bone china she dressed the table with - that also tipped me off.
Ritual, is of paramount importance, after all!
Ms. Donnelly provided that in spades.
By the way, the "reading" was - not only insightful - but entertaining, too.
Since I am a superstitious individual (I believe that if a querent - "the subject" - reveals the predictions that they may not come to pass) I don't intend to pass on the what is on the road ahead (based on the visions she rustled up from the mystical bowl at the center of the table).
I have no problem fessing up about one thing about the intriguing experience, though.
Ms. Donnelly's forecast was uncanny - "bang on" - in fact.
When I prepared to depart, I quizzed the tea leaf reader a tad.
"Is this your regular perch," I asked.
I was a little bit taken aback when she informed me that the vendors are only permitted to alight in one spot on the street for the duration of one-and-a-half hours!
So, I was inclined to snatch up her business card and pass the contact number along here.
In the alternative, I expect that interested parties could lead each other on a merry chase through the side streets of the mall, until they happen upon her "comfort zone".
By the way, years ago I was treated to my first tea leaf reading in Victoria, B.C.
I was in town for a one-man exhibition of my original abstract-expressionistic paintings (at the Open Space Gallery) when I happened to stroll by the window of quaint little cafe where an elderly silver-haired lady held court for believers every day.
Just as the grand old dame was about to finish up with the reading, she suddenly whispered a message to me.
"You're going to the United States in the very near future."
At this juncture, she turned the cup half-way in my direction to reveal the image of the land of the free looming large on the inside of the antique cup.
And, above it, was the symbol of an "Eagle"!
Two weeks later, I flew to New York, and have remained a resident ever since!
A believer, yet?
Ms. Donnelly may be reached at 310.379.6653 or by tracking her down at the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica.