Originally Posted on The Huffington Post:
Thursday, August 4, 2011 | by Barbara Rose Brooker
“Feng shui will turn things around for you,” says my best friend, Janet Frumpkin. “You’ll meet the man of your dreams.”
“He better hurry up. I’m almost 75.”
“Honey, he’s just around the corner. Marlene Blumberg used this great feng shui guy named Sann Go. Two days later at a political rally she met her Leonard.”
“He’s a neb,” I say.
“Neb, schmeb. She’s got romantic love in her life. A career isn’t enough. Call Sann Go. He’s the leading feng shui guy.”
I call this feng shui man. His voice is faint, like a whisper, and I imagine him as an ancient Chinese man with a long, wise beard. We make an appointment for noon the next day. Exactly at noon, the doorbell rings. Anxiously, I open the door. I’m shocked to see a slim, handsome Jewish man about my age with silver, curly hair, dressed in Armani. He walks into my apartment like he’s walking on water, and carries a smooth leather briefcase and an iPad.
“I thought you’d be …”
“I studied in China for many years. My real name is Sanford Goldman.”
He frowns and stares at the piles of books and magazines along the edge of my studio apartment. While I’m explaining that I have little room, and that my work is my priority, he frowns.
“Clutter,” he says peevishly. He sighs heavily, as if irritated. “On a scale of 1 to 10 for clutter, you’re a 30.”
He sighs again. A slight elegant aroma of scent ﬂoats from his body. He closes his eyes and waves this metal ball hanging from a steel chain, tch-tch-tch-ing.
“Do you have a glass of water?”
“Sure.” So I schlep out my good bottled water, and he sniffs it ﬁrst to make sure it’s not dirty or something, then he proceeds about the apartment with the ball. When the ball moves he lets out moans. He moves the ball from corner to corner and the ball is moving faster.
“Which means that bad energy is here. Very bad.”
“Oh my God,” I murmur.
“You have to get rid of all the shmatas!”
Shmatas? Does he mean tchotchkes? Whatever. “Antiques — I inherited —“
“Shmatas,” he insists, looking disgusted.
“No wonder your life is in misery. Marlene told me.” He glances at the paintings on the walls, paintings I painted of women inside boxes, or sitting on boxes. “Not to mention these paintings!” The women don’t have heads.
“I like my things.”
He closes his eyes. “Either you want good energy, a happy life — or possessions. Women without heads represent a broken spirit.”
To top it, he made a mess out of my apartment, moving books and magazines; he gives me a bill for $500. I’m stunned. Angry that I hadn’t asked Marlene the price.
“Oh, I don’t have that kind of cash.”
“A check will be ﬁne.”
I write a check. “I have to postdate it till next month,” I tell him. I’m on the verge of tears, thinking that now I can’t pay another bill I want to pay. I’m angry with myself. But then again, once my apartment is cleared, everything will change.
He hands me a silk purse. “Fold the check, put it in this envelope, then seal the envelope.”
“Sure, uh huh.”
“Get rid of this clutter ASAP.”
So I spend the next two days replacing my books and magazines, though I moved the bed to face the window and even turned my paintings of women without heads around.
“So now everything is going to be great,” I tell Janet Frumpkin.
“It’s just around the corner, honey.”
So I decide to go to Starbucks to get a coffee, and then buy the wind-bells the feng shui guy suggested. I’m walking along Polk Street on a still, humid day, and my mind is on Janet’s promise that I’m about to meet the one, the man who’s “just around the corner,” when, stunned, I ﬁnd myself ﬂat on the ground. My arm was out so I fell hard on my knee; did I hurt my hip? I can’t get up? I can’t breathe? People walk by. Finally two workmen pick me up. They walk me back home. There goes my feng shui. An hour later I’m on my way to the emergency room.
“So that’s what’s around the corner? Plus this hot Jewish guy ripped me off.”
“Honey, your prince will come. He’s just around the corner.”
To be continued …
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Barbara Rose Brooker of San Francisco is working on a sequel to her ﬁrst book,“The Viagra Diaries,” which has been optioned by HBO. She also teaches at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at SFSU.
Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or