He’s predicting that I’ll live until I’m old, just like that man. Good.
He continues. I’ve got my left hand out, palm up. He doesn’t need to inspect it very carefully before he begins a long explanation in Chinese. That’s why I’ve handed him the notebook and pen.
I’m getting my palm read. Beside the park in Jinghong, in China’s Xiashuangbanna Autonomous Region, fortune tellers and palm and face readers line the sidewalk. Men and women, most of them in their 60’s or 70’s, have some kind of laminated palm or face diagram on the ground in front of them. They sit on short stools waiting for potential clients to walk past.
My traveling companion and girlfriend, Juno, knows enough about palm reading to clue me in as to the order of his predictions. First he comments on my love.
“You’ll have a good wife.”
That’s probably a safe prediction for him to make. Juno is looking on, after all.
Next he tells me that I have a high level of education. Not an unrealistic assumption to make about a foreign traveler.
Then he predicted the age of my death.
What is most shocking is when he comes to the part about my fortune. He thinks that I’ll have money in my life. Alright. Moving on.
So far everything is going well for me.
“When you were young,” he continued, “Your life wasn’t so good. But it’s better now, and will be even better when you are old.”
I don’t mean to play the role of the skeptic, but these have generally been safe things to say about a person so far. And this as well. Most of us have a decent childhood, but we all have growing pains, don’t we? I didn’t dislike my childhood, but I certainly prefer being an adult.
But I have to admit, it does sound good to hear that my life will continue to improve with age.
By this time, the palm reading of a Western man has garnered the attention of about ten or so onlookers, arched in a half-moon around me and the palm reader. They are listening intently to the interpretations and prediction of my life.
Photo by Juno Kim