Mariana is the worst (worse than me anyway). When we were younger she was always thought to be the logical one because she was good at maths and very academic. I was (and still am) absolutely terrible at maths and, as daydreaming has always been one of my favourite past times, more often than not I'd get caught gazing out the window instead of writing about Germany's foreign policies after WW2. As we got older though it became clear that Mariana was perhaps not the most logical of the two of us. For one she did the same stupid ass teenage stuff that I did, and secondly, she generally places more stock in superstitions and "signs" than I do. Well usually.
Sometimes I still get caught up in superstitions. For example: I love fantails. I love their ways. The way they flit and flutter about, more butterfly than bird. The way they chitter-chatter in such a cute fashion. I love their tails; how they are bigger than their heads and bodies put together. Their single dark tail feather amongst the other creamy splays. I love their little sunshine coloured chests; how they flash bright yellow as they hover about this way and that. I love the way they love people. They befriend you on a walk, chirping along with you as you go. Fantails are gorgeous friendly little birds. How can it be that my friendly little birds have such awful connotations?
I hate superstitions like this. They mess with your head and make something as simple and exciting as a pretty bird in your home a bad and morbid experience.
The other day I was home alone. Trying with all my might to do some work. Though more often than not I'd merely click the jug on for my 50th cup of tea and watch stupid You Tube videos of a naked woman destroying a McDonalds. That's when Lover-Man came home shutting all the doors and windows (as he always does for some weird ass reason) and over cup of tea number 51 we talked about our respective days. Then it was time for dinner. Lover-Man went to go and retrieve my son from whichever neighbourhood friend he was currently terrorising, taking the little one with him. That's when I heard it. Little peeps. Cute chirps.
I looked up from my simmering couscous and to my surprise there was a little bird politely flapping around the room. I was instantly confused. How and when did you get in? I wondered. As I was standing there watching him flutter in his finery I realised that this little fellow had come in at least an hour earlier before Lover-man came home and shut the door. How bizarre I thought, that this little bird has just been chilling out in our house waiting for the others to leave to make a peep and get let out. I suddenly felt special. This bird is my friend! I thought as I now made moves to let him out. He fluttered around in the wrong direction, chirping at me. How cute, he wants to say hello to me, I thought, as I snaffled him into my palms with strange ease. He didn't even fight me. Just sat there in my hands. Maybe he is my guardian; my special bird friend, my mind wandered. Maybe he has a message for me. That's when I remembered it. Fantails bring the news of death. Suddenly my magical experience with nature was ruined. I released my feathered friend back into the wild very quickly, disgusted with my sudden revelation. Even though I am not a hugely superstitious person, I promptly ran out to the driveway to check the safety of my family. Ridiculous I know.
So why do superstitions have such a hold on us? How can they taint a beautiful situation, like getting the chance to hold a lovely fantail in you hands? And when a superstition appears in your life, what do you do? How do you act?
How did I act? Well I got a little freaked out. Part of me was afraid. What does it mean? Who will it be? Another part of me was annoyed. Why! Why does a beautiful fantail have to mean something so awful? The other feeling was: Oh come on, all it means is that a bird flew into my house. And as my friend Kimby said "it means you've got bugs in your house". Well yes. Yes I do. I find that logic very comforting.
Mariana had a similar experience recently with tea leaves. At a school fair she decided to get her leaves read. Though what she was told in her tasseography reading was not wholly positive.
"What do I do?!" she asked me over the phone in a tea induced panic. Because I was separated from the experience I could calmingly tell her "It's just tea".
"But the woman was lovely, she said she never usually tells people things like this but she said it was important."
I took a breath to clear my mind and assess the truth of the situation.
"I'm sure she thought it was important, but it's up to you whether you believe that the tea in that cup is worth fearing. It could be something bad, but it could also just be tea leaves in a cup."
I wish I could've been that wise when the fantail flew inside.
Sometimes the universe may seem to send us messages but they are up to us to interpret. We can take from them what we want. If a woman holding a crystal ball tells you to be weary of water, perhaps do so, but I probably wouldn't go as far as to never shower again!
In the immortal words of Sarah Connor: There's no fate, but what we make.