Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Parking Lot Prediction

lucky charm

Last week I went to the supermarket to buy some food. Not a very unique trip, really; I go to this particular supermarket about once or twice a week since it's near my workplace and it has cheap gas (well, cheaper gas). On this particular day, I got out of the car and was hailed by a short old woman. Somehow she could tell I was foreign, even though I hadn't said anything. She started by asking if I had ever visited Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer (The Saint Marys of the Sea, a town in Camargue), and was very surprised when I said that, in fact, yes, I had! This quickly tipped me off that she was a gypsy, or a tsigane as she called herself (in fact, she called herself la mamie tsigane, the gypsy granny). The reason I figured it out is that Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer hosts a huge gypsy festival every year, and there are always gypsies hanging out there. You see, one of the Saints of the church, Saint Sarah, is the patron saint of gypsies, and they light candles in the church basement and accost every tourist who comes to visit the town.

When she saw that I wasn't disgusted or frightened or just plain old not interested, she immediately launched into telling my fortune. She told me that I was a sensitive person with an open spirit and lots of other stuff like that. I thanked her and walked away when she said, "Wait, wait, mademoiselle! I'm receiving three letters in my mind!" I felt like I was on Crossing Over with John Edward! How could I walk away from that?

"I'll tell you the letters, and you tell me if they have a meaning for you," she said. "The first letter is . . . G!"

Wow, I thought, she got "Gem" on the first try! "Yes, yes, it means something to me," I said.

"The second letter is . . . J!" she pronounced.

Impressive! I thought. "Jube" on the second try! "Yes, that one too is meaningful," I said.

"And the last letter is . . . F!"

Hmmmmmm . . . "Not so much," I told her.

"Well, I got two out of three." [She seriously said that!!] Then she told me that the letters were very important to my "sentimental" life (I think in English the best translation is "romantic"), and that all my plans for the future would turn out all right. Then she gave me a lucky charm, "bound with nine prayers." [Yeah, it's just a plastic bead ripped off of a necklace for a little girl, as seen above.] Then she said, "Whatever you want to give to the gypsy granny is fine, because I know you are a generous person with an open heart and you will give whatever you can to the gypsy granny."

Well, normally I wouldn't give her anything (I'm that generous, yes!), but since I had really enjoyed myself for the past five minutes, I dug into my change purse and gave her two Euros. "And you don't have any restaurant gift certificates?" she asked me. I think she could tell from my face that I didn't want to give her anything else, and more asking would get her nowhere, so she then said, "You are a good person. You come from a poor family but you will end up rich! Thank you so much and give whatever you can to other gypsies when you see them in memory of your gypsy granny!"

We'll see how well my future plans work out, and then I'll think about giving to other gypsies in your memory, Mamie Tsigane.


lapetitecourt said...

wow, she asked you for restaurant tickets? I've never heard that one before. The weirdest thing that happened to me was being asked to use my carte bleu to get some more money out of an ATM because the homeless lady wasn't satisfied with the 5 francs I gave her.

helene said...

France isn't a biggie in your life?? F for France...of course she could use that for every expatriat or tourist she met....

Samantha said...

Good call, helene. And thanks for sharing gem, that was an interesting story!

Robyn said...

I feel like you were on wheel of fortune.. RSTLNE haha! No, that's a freaking great story, I love it.

Gem said...

As for the tickets resto... when I refuse to give people money, they often ask for a ticket restaurant. I guess they feel like it's not really asking for money, but since I never have any of them, it doesn't help much!

helene said...

Is a ticket resto like giving a person MacDonalds gift certificates, so it can be used for food and not booze??

Thierry said...

F was for France!
Gem and Jube in France.

It all makes sense now. La mamie tsigane got 3 out of 3 ! I'll have to go and find her now (if only to get that GORGEOUS lucky charm)

Zach said...

haha... when i was in france my friend taught me to say "i am a small horse" and "I ate the library" to all gypsies and beggars so they would leave me alone... and it did work! I still remember how to say those phrases, I just can't spell in French!!

Gem said...

helene: that's exactly it. If you give them a restaurant gift certificate, then they can't use it for alcohol or drugs. I think that a lot of beggars ask for them first to show that they're willing to accept anything, and then maybe people will be more willing to give them even money. (I don't know a lot of people who carry around tickets resto with them!)

zach: That would definitely scare me away to hear someone saying that!!

As for F=France, I didn't think of it at the time because I was stuck on the letter=person. She was thinking of that too, since she kept asking me how the person affected my life... but I suppose that "la France" is considered a person too, to some people!