Thursday, March 29, 2007

Dark Matter

We parked the car at 9pm outside a low slung cement block building. After knocking three times on a window, a man wordlessly opened the front door.

Adam appeared as my boss had descibed him: short and stocky, like a sports trainer. Not so different than the other men I'd met in Warsaw. What set Adam apart was his brow line - two hairy thickets that twisted upward toward the flourescent bulb.

A man in a suit hovered behind Adam, his function unknown. The suit motioned for me to sit down, and Joanne silently followed Adam into the bedroom. After a few minutes the suit mumbled something in French. "Not many people from Poland in Quebec," he said. Then he stood up and walked out of the apartment.

Alone now, I could examine my surroundings. In addition to the bare bulb, there were plenty of other "mood elements." A television, muted, showing rugby. A phone that rang off the hook and a cassette answering machine. Decorative knives.

I heard footsteps in the hallway and then the flimsy door was flung open. Joanne emerged looking woozy, but gestured for me to go in. I followed dumbly and the door was closed behind me.

"Stand here," he said in French. "Close your eyes."

I had agreed to see the energy healer because my boss had offered to pay. She had her own appointment during my visit, and I was "lucky enough" to be added on. Adam had been in the papers recently, and was very much in demand.

At the very least, I thought, as he stood behind me doing God-knows-what, there is a blog post in this. And I began to imagine the opening lines.

"You're very sad," Adam said, interrupting.

"Am I?" I replied, imagining a serious poker face.

"This here," he said, passing open hands near my sternum, "is your (something-or-other) channel. Immediate family. Boyfriend, husband. Very ......"

The last word was represented only by a gesture. An anguished face, like he had stepped on something sharp. Or eaten Marmite.

"I see."

"This here (moving southward) is your spirit channel." He spent some time pawing the air in front of my belly, and then moved on.

He started in about digestion and I had to call him back.

"Excuse me, Adam... my spirit channel? Did you, uh, find anything there?"

His impressive brow collapsed into itself. He started to say something and then thought better of it. He moved his hands down and continued to talk about intestines.

Parlor tricks followed, with Adam pointing to my physical ailments. He correctly named all the current ones (a bad cough, a sore back) and even forecast a few that "will follow."

He then told me to sit, and looked directly into my eyes. His face hung with the over-wrought sincerity of a high school guidance counselor.

"You're very sad," he repeated.

Isn't everyone? I thought. "But what about my spirit channel?"

He started again to explain, stopped, and then called for Joanne. He took her in the corner and spoke very quickly.

My mind wandered to various versions of this story - the sad expat learning that she has, after all, no soul. It could be done like Lost in Translation with good music, Polish art students, and sexy casting. Or in a Sci-Fi direction, with a vampire soul! Or...

"It's your third eye," someone interrupted.

Joanne was explaining to me that it's broken. My third eye. And that this is very, very bad. "It's the way you relate to the world. It's the interface between you and everybody else. Or something like that. We can Google it."

The good news, she assured me, is that Adam can fix it. Only 2-3 more visits, and only 15 euros a pop. I could be a much better person before the summer.

I came back to Paris last night, dropped my bags, and went to an Andrew Bird concert. And the dashing multi-instrumentalist peered out from beneath his hair-mop, looked right into my eyes (so I imagine), and sang:

Do you wonder where the self resides
Is it in the head or between your sides?

I decided this morning, after a proper night's rest and five cups of coffee, what this third eye business is really about.

It is not about me being soul-less. Or selfish. Or any other unflattering word that begins with S.

It is about grammar!

My interface with the world, like a radio dropped in water, has been cutting out. I am third eye blind mute as a result of speaking french like a six year-old.

My next trip to Warsaw is in May. This leaves me plenty of time to master the subjunctive and return triumphant to Adam's "office."

"All clear," he will say, brows twitching happily. My sternum will reveal that I am good.

One can hope...


Chrisos said...

hey Meg,

Don't let not mastering the subtleties of Moliere’s language have any influence on you. You are not that bad! This I want to be better in French attitude is kind of creating a vicious circle. So many French people don’t even speak French properly, so don’t worry! I met my ex (American) girlfriend last year (in Paris for almost 2 years no), she admitted that she does not feel that her French has really improved, but she just doesn’t care anymore, so she is cooler, doesn’t focus all her energy on language issues, and she seems much more self confident and in better shape now.
Good luck with your 3rd eye!

Miss Despina said...

Hi, I've been reading your blog for a while now - I understand so well what you mean about your French. It's a language I've never spoken outside of the classroom, and whilst occasional French people tell me it's good, it can't compare to the French spoken by my partner, who is the braniest man in the world, and lived in Paris for five years. Even more sickening, he is also fluent in Spanish. Grr I feel acutely the crapness of my French next to him - and I'm in the UK! Thanks for the ranting space...
Despy :)

Anonymous said...

Get a private tutor for one day a you can ask allllllll the questions you need to ask. You must do this 100%. And don't stress about it, it will come, just speak as much as possible. Bonne chance.

Anonymous said...

Lucky you... the Andrew Bird show must have been awesome !!!! He is a crazy genius !!!



Reader from Switzerland said...

What a great laugh I had after reading this blog post of yours. Thanks. I needed that.

I like your writing style.

Thomas said...

'It is about grammar!'

Sure it is - so, 'different from', 'disimilar to'. There is no 'different than', lady Meg.

le Meg said...

Watch it, Tom.