I drove away happy from the Columbus Pride Festival. Marion Gold said when we SKYPEd after the National Women’s Music Festival that I looked happy too.

People do project their good energy onto people who do readings for a living. They give you their faith; look up to you. They see you with magical powers when they open their hands and you talk about their lives with self-assurance. They attach a childlike state of wonder, a sense of reverence, an awe.

Batya Weinbaum opens palms from Columbus to Buenos Aires
Courtesy Photo

With the vendors from Colombia across the way from Columbus Pride, it wasn’t a matter of taking their money. They were feeding me. I usually take my food to these things. Else I can spend more than I make, and gain weight. Like Sisyphus pushing his old boulder back up the mountain, I repress in the back of my mind as I barter for food that I know I should not eat—that I will have to become an exercise hound once returning to my refuge in the Heights, eating nothing but brown rice, veggies, and smoothies, working out to tapes and in the gym, and swimming two hours a day again.

But what can you do? I give in.

These particular vendors across the way had some Greek spinach pie that looked delicious. No oil, they assured me. Absolutely healthy. Right, I thought to myself, the dough is chock-full of butter. And I slipped into Spanish immediately, offering a trade for my services, knowing for sure by the accent they were not Greek.

Pretty soon after the downpour—it has been raining a lot this summer—they were allowing me to heat up my water for coffee on their sturdy range since my propane single burner had gotten deluged and nothing, not even a strong safety match or a lighter could start it. So I read a palm while waiting.

How many kids? One. No—my wife has two, the young fellow insisted. Well, after peering once again at the markings on his right hand, I saw that one of them was not his. The pot went off; indicated my water was boiling. We both laughed as I took my hot water and sauntered off.


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