V. had asked me to re-vamp the pages of one of our members pages - fortune telling - as it happened, and so I experimented a bit with some .css that I had found and showed her the above.
She smiled and closed those misty green eyes of hers in comtemplation.
And then suddenly opened them again, and stared at me.
"Why is the title flickering?"
My reply was the obvious: "It's neon, and neon flickers".
"And also because ..." I hesitated as I was on shaky ground.
"And because you don't believe in fortune tellers because you are a man of science" finished V for me - scarily like she could read my mind, more likely though that she know me too well. We have strangely perhaps become good friends over the past months.
"But it is you who is on shaky ground"
"After all what man of science scries in his spare time."
"And what, after all, is scrying if not a form of divination or fortune telling?"
Well, she had me there.
"And what do you say to Malintzin about scryng?"
She had me there as well, and as M reads this pages (I know you do), it was best to move on.
"It's the online bit that gets me. It just looks spamny".
"real fortune tellers online" mused V.
"Just remove the real and the flickering and once you have done that .."
"... I have a little errand that will help me, and possibly although let's not build up our hopes, help you".
And with that, V handed me a card, smiled all sweetness and light and made to leave.
I inspected the card. On one side Church street market. On the other ...
I looked at V. suspiciously.
"almost for free - who reads fortunes almost for free?"
"and where are you going?"
In response, she gave me one of her cards, smiled again (witchy like) and left if not in a puff of smoke, in a cloud of perfume. A date maybe?
I've worked for V. for long enought to know the drill. As someone who doesn't (really) believe in fortune telling or magic, my job if I chose to accept it (freedom of choice is sometimes an illusion), was to visit said fortune teller, have my fortune told, and tell V. about the experience.
I still don't see the point of these exercises while V considers them important as part of my development. Glancing out of the window on this cold day right at the fag-end of January, I considered not going. Very briefly. Witch or not, V. is very perceptive - and can see straight through my lies. I tried once and had nightmares about icy steppes, wolves, darker forests and fires that wouldn't stay lit until I eventually admitted to V I had lied to her.
I paid a forfeit, we kissed and made up (not literally) and the nightmares ceased.
I googled a bit before going. It seems that there been a market on Church Street since the 1830's or thereabouts so there is history to the place. You can say the same for much of London, but if you are a tourist, don't bother in January. Wait until the weather improves.
I don’t know what you do to earn a crust, but most of my jobs have involved people in one way or another. Even geeks have moments where you get to deal with people, and sometimes this means visiting suppliers.
I was too much of a grunt before I *left* the bank to be anything other than a hanger-on during occasional supplier visits. I missed out on the free lunches, expensive booze, entertainment and days out.
All the fun stuff was reserved for levels of management who were at a sufficiently stratospheric level as to have no idea about what they were buying.
And now, irony of ironies, V. sends me out periodically to give my impressions of our suppliers, me who not only knows nothing about the ‘magical’ world but is deeply sceptical. Scrying excepted - but we can justify that with science - can’t we?
I know nothing about fortune telling, but what I am is perceptive, very, very perceptive. I pick up on things that other people don't notice, which seems is good enough for V. There is also my 'personal development' to think off (as alluded to above).
I'll spare you the details of the journey to the market. I won't say more than the doors on the tube of the Northern Line jammed shout resulting in me over shooting my stop. Nuff said.
I'll also spare you the details of the market. It is chock full of fruit and veg stalls, clothes and other knick knacks, rammed together higgeldy piggeldy like, and no obvious fortune tellers - real or otherwise.
I walked up one side of the market starting at the Edgeware Road end (traditional fruit and veg), and worked my way up to Marylebone (more antiques) without seeing any fortune telling stalls.
Not having a lot of patience, I asked one of the traders if there were any fortune tellers around these parts, and he shouted:
"Yeah mate. Course we got fortune tellers here along with the pink elephants".
And then beckoned and whispered quietly:
"a word in your shell like - if you want your fortune told try down the street in between the trinketry, knick knacks and weasels".
A word in your shell like? I haven't heard that for donkeys, and I admit that weasels took me a while to work out, but eventually I got there.
I noodded my appreciation, retraced by steps, and found my fortune teller as described smack bang in the middle of the trinketry and weasels.
It was bizarre that I had missed the stall earlier. It was garish to say the least, what with the crystals, fairy lights, crystal balls and other magical geegaws, baubles and trinkets.
What now? Double checking the card to ensure that I was at the correct address (and indeed I was), and then looking at the thinish youngish market trader with a scraggly beard, I felt at a loss.
I mean, working for V, I've had my fortune read on numerous occasions. Normally it is obvious that I'm at a fortune tellers, rather that at a run down market stall with someone who ostensibly appears to be a market trader. There are usually signs such as 'fortunes told here' or said fortune teller is wearing a fancy get-up of some sort.
I stared at him for a bit, and he returned the favour, until I asked (feeling pretty stupid):
"Are you the almost free fortunte teller?".
"If you have an almost payment?" was the answer.
Cryptic or what?
Until I remembered V's card, and handed it over as 'almost payment'.
The trader, now fortune teller, took the 'almost payment' inspected it, nodded his satisfaction and indicated that I join him on a spare seat behind the stall.