A couple of years ago I was stressed out from working long hours with a bunch of total nut-bags, so once a month I'd take a long lunch and get my hamstrings haikued and my chakras shuffled. The massage guy I'd go to, whose name was Jedediah ("Jeda" for short -- like Jedi -- may or may not have been just a teeny, weeny bit intentional) was a big, jolly guy who was totally unembarrassed about the fact that he heard voices, talked to angels, bonged Tibetan singing bowls over people's heads, and laid out intricate patterns of cold little rocks and crystals on my back while I was on the table. It all sort of tickled me, because he never took it too seriously. He would say things like, "This anthracite will heal the wounds from your past lives," and then he'd chuckle, as if to say, Isn't that completely insane! And yet I persist! Maybe it works! Why not try it! The massages dropped off once I got pregnant, because as the baby got bigger it became less and less comfortable to lie on my back, or side. (How did I sleep? I have an antigravity chamber. Really!) But when I sailed past my due date without a contraction in sight, I called Jeda, thinking he might be able to prod at some pressure point that would put me into labor. (I have heard from more than one pedicurist that a simple foot massage has hastened the arrival of many a baby.)
So I went to Jeda's office and hoisted myself up on the table and he said, "I had a conversation with this child last night." Oh, really, I said. "He wants to get going as much as you do. He's just waiting for Mercury to go direct, it's much more difficult to be born when Mercury's retrograde. But it goes direct tonight," he said. Oh, good, I said. Then he looked up at the ceiling and started going, "Uh-huh, uh-huh, okay, I'll tell her, jeez." Then he looked at me and said, "This child comes from the highest ranks of angels." Hmmm, I said. "Don't let that intimidate you," he said. It doesn't, I said, thinking, It can be Jesus himself and he'll still need me to wipe his butt and sign his report cards.
So Jeda gave me a disappointingly light going-over, but before I was out the door he pressed several things on me: two bottles of flower essences, one for the child and one for the midwives; a huge purple crystal, meant to be, if not in the birthing tub, at least somewhere in the vicinity; and two tuning forks, which I was supposed to bang together and wave around the room to, quote, clear the space.
Well, once labor hit I was a little too elsewhere to start offering people hits of flower water, and there was no way on God's green earth that Jack was going to start leading the pagan rites, so Jeda's paraphernalia got buried under some teeny weeny t-shirts and forgotten, not to resurface for three or four months. I kept thinking that I'd put the stuff in my car and drop by Jeda's office when I was in the neighborhood, but at some point he moved out of his office and left no forwarding address, and I haven't seen him since the day last winter that I was stopped at a light on Carrillo and he was standing in front of the Salvation Army smoking a cigarette. It was such a strange sight, him with his hair all scraggly and twenty pounds heavier, puffing away, talking to some girl with a bad blonde dye job, that suddenly I really didn't want him to see me, especially since his crystal and his tuning forks in their velveteen bag were home gathering dust on my bookshelf. So as soon as I got home I put them in my trunk, thinking that the next time I ran into him I could finally give him his stuff back, but it's been six months, and Jeda's phone is no longer in service and I don't know what to do. Is there a crystal rescue, with a drop box? A local hospital that needs equipment for hearing tests? Or should I get them back out of the car and just keep them as some sort of cosmic baby gift?