“Trust your hunches. They’re usually based on facts filed away just below the conscious level.”
– Dr. Joyce Brothers
I’m moving tomorrow.
Well, I don’t know if you’d consider what I’m doing to be ‘moving’ exactly. I’ll be packing up my mom’s car and driving to a new city with every intention of living there…But nothing is definite. I don’t have a job waiting for me or even an apartment and I guess I’m hoping that once I get there, things will just sort of fall into place. And that I’ll just intuitively sense that I’ve made the right decision.
I don’t know what makes me think that this plan will work. Experience has taught me that I’m complete crap at ‘sensing’ anything. I’ve never been very good at trusting my instincts and I don’t know what makes me think that this time will be any different.
A few weeks ago, my mother and I were in Macau, China, when I watched two women reach into my mom’s purse and pull out 250 US dollars worth of Hong Kong money.
And I did nothing.
To be fair though, my intuition tried to warn me that this was going to happen. Moments before, the pea-sized part of my brain responsible for those intuitive ‘hunches’, spotted the wad of violet-colored bills peeking out of the side-pocket of my mom’s purse and signaled me to pay attention.
“Um, Reannon?” My intuition spoke up, tentatively. “Someone is going to maybe, probably, steal that money, you know, if your mom doesn’t put it away…Like, right now.”
I frowned at my intuition irritably. We were standing in line at a roadside chicken-kabob vendor and I was too hungry to deal with her nagging. She was of probably worrying over nothing, as usual. She could be such a drama queen.
“Oh, okay. You can, you know, just tell her later then…That’s good too.” My intuition whispered, before shrinking back to her hiding place in the back of my brain.
Not a minute later, I watched as a woman unbuttoned her turquoise jacket and held it out on either sides of my mom’s purse. Mystified, my brain thought:
“Why is that woman flashing my mom? How weird.”
And then almost simultaneously came the thought:
“I like her jacket.”
Maybe if my brain had been more alert, I would have registered how tense the two women’s faces looked…and how they were standing unnecessarily close to my mother. The one closest was absentmindedly waving a bill in the direction of the cashier, but she wasn’t ordering anything. All of this should have been shouted warnings to my brain to “DO something! Something is seriously wrong here! These women are up to no good!”
But as it were, my brain was too distracted by the watch display in the store window behind the vendor to register anything other than “It’s freakin hot” and “That watch is cute”. And meanwhile, my intuition had disappeared on a smoke break or else fallen asleep on the job and I forgot all about the women’s odd behavior.
It wasn’t until a few moments later, after my mom and I were well on were way up the hill towards the ruins of a Portuguese cathedral, that my intuition I piped up with a sleepy:
“Ummm…It might be a good idea to tell your mom to put her money away now. Well, I think anyway.”
“Mom!” I grabbed my mom’s purse and started to root through it in a panic. “Your money. You’ve got to put it away right now.”
But…it was too late. It was gone.
Maybe it’s not fair to blame a faulty intuition here. She did try warn me and I didn’t want to listen. But I think that if she’d maybe been a tad more assertive or persistent, she might of gotten through to me. And maybe my mom wouldn’t have gotten pick-pocketed. Or maybe I wouldn’t have ever moved to Japan. Or decided that it was a good idea to ride my tricycle down the cement driveway when I was three (a decision which landed me in the hospital). Or done the other bazillion dumb things my intuition had failed to convincingly warn me about.
“Trust your instincts.”
This is the wise advice that people offer whenever I explain to them about the whole ‘I have no idea what to do with my life and it’s really freaking me out’ dilemma that I’ve been up against since…forever. That fortune cookie wisdom ranks right up there with the “follow your heart” standard as one of those standard Hallmark-y phrases that I hate more than anything.
How am I supposed to go about trusting a part of myself I’m not entirely sure even exists? Sometimes I wish my intuition were better prepared for the job. She’s like a five-year-old standing in the middle of a freeway trying to direct traffic when she can barely lift the stop sign. And then people expect me to listen to her when she tells me where I should go next.