People say they’re going “off the grid” all the time and I just roll my eyes. Usually it means they won’t be posting on social media and checking their phones quite as obsessively. Occasionally it means they’re going camping or to the sea—what in the olden days we called “going on vacation.” But when I do Ruby Intuition readings, I go off the grid whether I like it or not. Real Carrie shite is the norm–lightbulbs pop, technology fritzes, brand-new batteries die, possessions mysteriously disappear. Sometimes I can’t remember close friends’ names. Sometimes I can’t remember my own name. I don’t even try to make plans on those days anymore, because I am never equipped to keep them.
I get it, I really do. I can’t have my cake and eat it too. Which is to say: I can’t blithely tap into the biggest energy source of them all and simultaneously rely on its pale substitutes. Usually by the time I finish readings, I barely remember I have a body, let alone that I live on planet Earth. I have been returned from somewhere I can’t quite explain, somewhere that glows with an entirely different quality of light, and I need sleep and food and drink and physical contact (preferably sex) to re-enter the allegedly real world of Ben Affleck gossip and political polarities and why-haven’t-you-already-responded-to-the-email-I-sent-three-minutes-ago? Electricity and grids are extremely relative.
For the first time since September 13, 2001–two days after New York City and I changed forever–I lost my wallet today. The circumstances of the two disappearances were so similar: The losses (or thefts, I’m not sure which) both took place on the L Train between 1st Ave and Williamsburg when I was already emotionally devastated; I even reported them at the same MTA police station. What’s weirder is I’d just replaced my wallet for the first time since I’d replaced the one lost in 2001. Not to mention that my car–which I got on September 6, 2001–has been dying this month and I’ve been gathering the resources to buy a new one.
I’m trying to sort out the significance of these events because I know there’s lemonade in this story, and I’m determined to drink it. (All insights welcome.) For one thing, I tend to view lost possessions as the equivalent of the “death” card in the tarot deck–symbols of upheaval, harbingers of life-defining shifts. So these losses feels especially meaningful, as if I’m shedding a host of identities that no longer apply. For the love of Pete, I literally lost my identity cards. All this jibes with the enormous changes I’ve been courting since my back injury impelled me to seek new levels of healing, communion, insight. Certainly it’s true that, unlike the helpless girl I was 14 years ago, today I played Damsel in Distress to no one–didn’t cry or alert loved ones until I’d cancelled cards, called the bank, gathered my composure. I even had a backup driver’s license and bank card at the ready in my home office. Also new: The cops were much, much hotter than I remembered them.
Every time Obama invoked grace during his landmark eulogy at Reverend Pinckney’s memorial, my permakitty bounded into the room and stationed herself in front of the television, as puffed up as could be. “I AM Grace and I serve at the pleasure of the President!” What a day. Between the Supreme Court’s marriage-rights decision and Obama’s pure and powerful testimony, our hearts were bursting with pride to be Americans, even as we mourned the lost souls of Charleston. So much is still a mess but our President said it best: “Today we have made our union a little more perfect.” I am very grateful, and so, apparently, is Grace.