My son keeps trying to teach me how to say Happy New Year in Mandarin, but he is soooooo frustrated with my horrible tones (for those of you who may not know, Chinese languages are tonal). At the tender again of 8-1/2, he has been taking Chinese for a few years and apparently has really good tones. But I wouldn’t know since I am obviously tone-illiterate.
As someone totally demoralized by the economic bloodbath of the last few years, I have taken to looking up any horoscope in any culture in a — yes, yes — futile attempt to divine (or control, let’s be honest) the future.
Since it is the Chinese New Year, I looked up Dragon in the Year of the Rabbit. But that isn’t enough information. I need to know my elements: am I wood or metal, earth or water or fire? I always imagined my elements would be like 1920s-30s modern furniture — brushed steel or carved wood structure with fabrics in deep red accents or bright thin stripes.
But, you can’t simply pick what you think works for you. That is determined at your time of birth. Not so simple, now that Mom is gone. But it wouldn’t have been so simple either if she were still alive. Mom gave birth in a classically 1960s way: she was under anesthesia before the first labor pain and woke up for the hairdresser (surgery can play havoc on one’s slightly poofy, Jackie Kennedy look).
So, even when my mother was alive, she couldn’t say, “I stopped screaming at 3:00pm, so that’s how I know that’s when you were born.” It would always have been, “Oh, darling, you were born sometime between when I was told to breathe deeply into the gas mask and when the hairdresser woke me for an in-hospital hair emergency procedure.”
So, it isn’t as easy as one might think to get tired, trite and vague prognostications. I needed information from a third party reliable source.
I got out of bed where I was web-surfing and I started hunting around for my birth certificate. I found only half of it. The copy I have was the original copy given to my parents and, well, after 47 years, the part with the relevant information had disintegrated.
POB (partner of blogger) asked if she could help and I told her she would laugh at me if I told her what I was doing. She didn’t laugh but she did roll her eyes. The Big Eye Roll. The one that means “I had a crazy day and now you are going off the deep-end trying to find out the time of your birth so you can read some free, on-line horoscope and use that to guide your and — therefore my — life for the next 12 months?”
Ok, she had a point. I cannot control the future. I cannot divine whether my loved ones and I will be financially successful, or happy, or healthy or . . . or . . . . But, crazy is as crazy does, because I keep trying.