“Happiness Consultants” are a thing that exist

About eight years ago I was sitting in my then-boyfriend’s optometrist’s office waiting for his appointment to be over. I hadn’t brought a book with me and there were no magazines around, so all I had to look at was the slowly yellowing furniture and a wall of tall brown filing cabinets.

The receptionist, either sensing my boredom or seeking to alleviate her own, started chatting with me. We started talking about my boyfriend, about school, about the coming summer. Pretty typical small talk.

“Now, dear,” she said. “Do you mind if I tune into you?”

“I’m sorry?”

“I have this gift. I’m able to speak with the universe and uncover things about people. But I find the universe is more cooperative when the people I’m asking about know what’s going on.”

All I wanted to do was spend a day in the April sunshine, and instead I was in a dingy office being asked if I minded that the receptionist commune with the universe to find out the answers to my unspoken questions.

“Sure, why not?”

“It’ll just take a moment.”

She went quiet and closed her eyes. I sat, uncomfortable in the hard plastic chair, wondering if I was supposed to say something. Lead her a bit, maybe? Let her know what I was curious about?

That’s when the tingle started. It spread from the back of my skull, creeping out in all directions, towards my ears, my forehead, the base of my neck. It swept down my spine and lingered in my shoulders. It ebbed and flowed through my body, and then it stopped.

“Well, that was interesting!” The woman smiled at me. “You’re a writer. How wonderful! You’re going to write about love, about all kinds of love, about love in every way we think about it and many ways we don’t. You need a pen and a journal, I can’t believe you don’t carry them with you! Here, darling, here.” She rifled through her cabinet and gave me a small red notebook and a black pen. The pen had her name and phone number on it with “Happiness Consultant” between the two. I thanked her and put them in my purse where, she was right, I had neither pen nor paper.

As my boyfriend walked out, she stage whispered across the room to me. “Don’t tell my husband I did that, darling. He hates when I tune into people in the office!” I promised that her secret was safe with me, shook her hand, and left, boyfriend in tow.

I wouldn’t have thought much of it (or even remember it, honestly) except that when we were talking about school, I never said what my major was. I barely talked about wanting to be a writer to my closest friends. I hadn’t even mentioned that I was reading anything, let alone that I dream(t) of writing as a career. And yet something about me screamed “writer” to her.

Did she really touch the universe and see into a part of my soul? No idea. But I wouldn’t mind at all if it turns out that she’s right.


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