Because I Forgot The Most Important One of All.

Friends, I hang my head in shame at the thought that I neglected to tell you the most important grocery store story (so far). Maybe you are not as lucky as I am to have a devoted friend who is willing to harass — sorry — remind you via all caps texting that while her story is somewhat thematically distinct from the original grouping of grocery store stories, “YOU ACTUALLY FORGOT TO WRITE ABOUT THE TIME YOU TRIED TO WARN ME ABOUT THE DANGER AWAITING ME AT MARKET BASKET AND I DIDN’T LISTEN TO YOU AND ALMOST DIED”.

Well, I am eternally grateful to have such a gem of a friend in Caroline, who for years now has endured me exposing my gift to her repeatedly (which sounds way dirtier than I mean it to). But she still has yet to actually listen to a damn thing I say. For instance, in her presence I have predicted the winners of no fewer than the last five Superbowls and probably more beyond that, only I didn’t realize how important it was to document it until this year, when I yet again had to patiently defend my track record to her while we all sat and watched as she curled up completely into the fetal position in an armchair by halftime. Yelling, “Are you SURE, Susan??” and peeking out at the last two quarters through her fingers.

She can contort herself thusly because she is a tiny, diminutive thing. Like, for real. She is a true shorty at 5 feet blahblahblahblahblah. (Everyone knows those additional two inches are poetic license). Next to my 5’10” frame, only 1/4 inch of which is fictitious, we make a fantastically hilarious Mop and Bucket, both in appearance and in our ability to make each other gasp and snort-laugh at the same time.

Unlike Caroline, who also has a charming habit of freaking out and texting me about politics after 9 pm which everyone knows is way past my prime vocabulary hours, but who also refuses to be comforted by anything I say in response, I try to welcome the influence that she has had on me and show my appreciation for it. Like when I crashed and burned right out of the gate returning to dating after losing my husband (and my breasts). I’d been abruptly dumped by a man who after reading my blog determined that “there was a certain immaturity” about me “that wouldn’t be good for him long term”, so of course I had to text Caroline immediately that I was unbelievably proud of myself about that and so should she be, given that this was obviously all her fault, bad influence that she was/is/will forever be upon me.

And even though many, many people suspect intuitives are any number of flavors of not right in the head, from immature to outrightly mentally ill, and even though it wasn’t the first time I’d encountered that prejudice, it had stung. Caroline texted back an outraged, “On what planet are youimmature???”

“On this one, apparently,” I responded, “Although I have to say this is the first time in my entire life anyone has ever called me that to my face.” Her response brought tears to my eyes it was so touching and supportive.


Caroline still describes it as the day I tried to save her life, but really it was the Universe working through me. Because all I did was look down at her feet one morning at coffee, notice she was wearing flip-flops with a wedge on a muggy, gully washer kind of rainy summer day, nod, and say, “Interesting choice of footwear”.

I wasn’t actually trying to get a message to her. I was literally thinking, “I’m from California what do I know”, which is easy to do in New England after growing up in SoCal and within a short few years after moving here facing the fact that it had prepared me for nothing. I still don’t know the difference between “tornado warning” and “tornado watch”. Or when to use a roof rake in the winter. The first time I got bit by a horsefly I called my doctor. Because I was sure whatever evil insect that had chomped me through my clothing, inspiring me to yelp and swear in front of my tiny children and causing a welt the size of an egg on my ass was also the carrier of some kind of flesh-eating virus.

It would not have been my personal choice to wear flip-flops with a wedge on any day ending in y let alone on a spectacularly rainy one, klutz that I am, but I figured she was good at stuff like that because she was from Maine. And you know, her center of gravity was closer to the ground or whatever.

So I assume you’ve figured out what happened, right? Caroline left me and went directly to the grocery store where she slipped on the rainwater that had accumulated just inside the door. She went down hard right in the doorway and the automatic door kept opening and closing on her while she lay there screaming. After she was finally escorted by panicked employees somewhere where she could sit down and where her screaming wouldn’t disturb the only two (probably hearing impaired) remaining customers who hadn’t heard her, and then while she was sitting in total shock waiting for the EMT’s who had been called because there was an “80-year old woman who had fallen in the parking lot,” her children were offered gigantic whoopie pies to help them change the narrative from “my mom fell down and didn’t know what to do and it was scary” to “my mom fell down and they gave us whoopie pies and it was AWESOME”.

She’s ok now, but like a lot of the physical changes of middle age, she finds her hip can now predict the weather by how and when it aches. Every once in a while she’ll show up somewhere in those damn same flip flops, waggle a foot at me, and wink.

What I will take credit for, since clearly I could not be pressed upon to consciously protect someone I cared about from injury and trauma, is the type of channel I really am. Unlike the stereotype, we intuitives aren’t walking around reading your mind and sussing out your deepest darkest secrets just by standing next to you in line for ice cream. I don’t invade people’s privacy, and I have a life I need to live too. Many of us learn how to adjust the volume on what we receive for this exact reason. (Give us permission to peek under the hood however, and it’s a whole different story).

Over the years Caroline has become very focused (obsessed) with figuring out what happened that day. She pesters me with all sorts of questions about it. “Susan! Just reminding you that going forward I‘d really like to know when you get one of your insights! And I need to know, like the one about maybe my flip-flops weren’t such a good idea? Was it like a zap, or a twinkling, or just a little voice in your ear saying, ‘Boy that’s dumb?’”

Sometimes I do get zaps. Sometimes I get twinklings. Sometimes I get the intuitive equivalent of HEY! PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU’RE FEELING ABOUT THIS SITUATION/PERSON/ENVIRONMENT in a way that stops me in my tracks just before I get a very detailed and weighty download. But I swear on a stack of outdated magazines in a doctor’s waiting room that day I felt nothing. Except maybe mild bemusement.

Here’s the thing, though: I said something. So perhaps I did feel an inner prompting to do so. After 30 years of doing this work, when I’m getting stuff it feels so regular and average and happens so fast I don’t always recognize when I’m passing along solid intel.

If I’d had a conscious second to choose, of course I would rather have spared Caroline the pain and suffering of that fall. But even she admits that she started listening a weensie bit better to me, and to herself even afterward.(Except when the Pats make the playoffs). So the how and why of the way it unfolded may remain a mystery.

But if there is one thing I know that’s been consistently true over the span of my career, it’s this: if our intentions are good and we are committed to being part of the highest good for the greatest number, we will receive the exact information we need for ourselves, and you, and everyone, always at the perfect right time.

Anyway, at the very least Caroline does love telling this story! When she gets to the part where the grocery store doors are OPENING AND CLOSING ON HER WHILE SHE JUST LIES THERE SCREAMING? Well, just between you and me? People cannot not laugh. Some people even roar. But they also feel super awkward laughing at her misfortune. And they also probably wonder why she’s not more embarrassed about it.

This is why I love her so much. For her, relishing the ridiculous is what makes life worth living. It’s fun! And personally I find it infectious, her ability to not take herself so seriously. So if she gets to be the star of her very own black comedy, well then it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

I’d call her my laughing Buddha but I’m pretty sure those sandals are too much, even for him.

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