the 5 minute hand job

I wasn’t going far, but I was wearing heels and didn’t feel like blisters.  I would cab it to Columbus Circle because the tmobile hotspot at the Starbucks near me was out of service. When I told the bearded driver my destination he thanked me and asked if I was going shopping.

“No, I’m a writer.”  As if saying I’m a writer explains that I’ll be sitting in a bookstore within the vertical shopping empire.

“Ah, a writer.  What do you write?”

“Non-fiction.”  This is an answer, I have learned, that somehow satiates people.

“Let me see your hand.  I read hands.”  Nothing in me hesitated to give him my hand; there was after all a barricade with an opening far too small for him to ever pull me through.  And, his eyes were warm.  “I’m a writer, too.  I am writing a book about being a taxicab driver and all the 5 minute relationships we make in New York.  But English is my second language, so it will be difficult for me.”  Then we hit a red light and he begins to examine my right hand. “You’re a Libra, a therapist to everyone.”

I smile, thinking if my friends had heard him they would shake their heads affirmatively.  “Yes, that’s true.  That’s why I’ve got two books coming out.”

“You have a very long lifeline, very long.  You’re an old soul, too.  You see these double lines right here?”  He then moved his thumb back and forth in the palm of my hand.  “These break your lifeline.  You will hit your luck and become very famous between 30 and 35.  Do you see them?” I didn’t say anything.  “You will also have a Phd.  You are supposed to have a Phd.  You should also have 3 children.  Supposed to.  You’ve had three significant relationships but the third one changed you very much.”  He looks into my eyes as his thumb rubs just under where my pinky finger begins.  “That third relationship was like a marriage, and you felt the divorce.  Now your eyes are open, and you’re right to be selfish.  You will have one other significant relationship and it will last.”  Oh thank god.  I began to breathe again.  “But right now, you are right to be selfish and cautious.  And in your next relationship, your eyes will always be open.  You will never make the same mistakes you made again.  Very famous.  You are a very open person, very open, and it serves you well.  I am very lucky to have you in my cab.” 

Abdul and I exchanged phone numbers.  “I will have to come up with a pen name for my book,” he said.  “Otherwise my wife will want to divorce me.  Some of those 5 minute relationships happened to be ones where she wouldn’t approve.” 

“Anonymity really isn’t my thing, but yes, trust your guy instinct on that.”  And we both smiled.  "Okay, your gut instinct."  He invited me for Indian food at his home in Astoria.  Clearly, I am not going; or at least not going unaccompanied by a very strong date.   

Maybe I believed everything Abdul said because he told me everything I wanted to hear.  Well, I couldn’t care less about the Phd. bit, but everything else was dead on.  But couldn’t everything he said be applied to anyone else my age?  A very long time ago, when my grandfather Papoo took me to a psychic in Florida, I returned to the car glowing.  My cheeks hurt from smiling.  “He said I was a princess in my former life, Papoo.”

“What’s he gonna say?  In your past life you were folding linens in some hotel?”  This time, though, with Abdul, he kept things in the near future and recent past, and I didn’t ask for any of it.  And something tells me, just as it always has, that everything he said will come true if I want it to.



  1. Interesting cab ride. Once again, only in NYC!

    So how did he know you were a Libra? What exactly did he look at on your hand to determine that one?

  2. YAY librans! :-) and redheaded ones to boot!

    your palm read was awesome- – and i hope all of it comes true.

  3. Now I am beginning to wonder exactly how many Librans read your blog…is there some sort of connection in our palms to yours?

    More importantly, you didn't happen to get Abdul's medallion number (it is the 4 numbers/letters combo, i.e. 9P76, on the sidedoors and on the light on the roof). Some readers in NYC, might want to get their palms read…granted there are 12,000 NYC cabs and the odds are stacked against us finding him.

  4. While I did not get his medallion, I did get his home phone number. Afterwards, I asked him if he would come to a party and read palms. He smiled and replied that he would. So, the next bash involving all my fantastic friends will involve one Mr. Abdul… and you, Tom, will be there.

  5. From another Libra… Perhaps that explains why, be it just a paragraph or a full page, I can fall so effortlessly into your writing.

  6. I once got into Abdul's cab, too! Maybe twice, actually…in fact, it happens quite often.

  7. I always thought that palm reading was complete bullshit. Many years ago, someone read my palm and noted that my lifeline forked rather remarkably. This was explained to me that some significant event would occur, like a death of someone close, and that would change my life. Last year, I went through a bitter divorce. Reading your post, Stephanie, what was told to me about my palm makes sense . . . but I still think it's somewhat bullshit.

  8. Abdul is good!

    I recently had my palm read, and the man saw my criss-crossing double lines and concluded: "You better enjoy yourself now. You'll be completely insane by the time you're 60."

    But, I am also a writer. And, for a lot of writers, that works in their favour.

  9. i have a friend that uses his psychic ability to pick up women. he stands near his mark with an accomplice and they pretend he is telling things no one could know. invariably, the lady overhears and asks him to try to tell her something about herself. some cajoling later he agrees. "ok, there are two men in your life. one loves you with no boundaries and treats you like a pricess but you just aren't sure and another guy is a jerk, cheap and you think is cheating on you but you just can't stop thinking about him." "oh my god! you are absolutely right!" she exhales and his work is done.

    as for me, i believe in cab drivers…

  10. Sweet!

    Are you excited about being famous in a year or few?

    Whoever said the thing about Rachel – I agree. The first post I read on this site was of her birthday and I was like – wow that girl looks angelic!

  11. I also had my palm read by Abdul. And he was fairly accurate with me, too. Gave him a fake phone number when he asked for it, though. New York can be a really small world sometimes.

  12. Sorry but am I the only person who isn't lapping up this palm reading bollocks. Pknut-how many people in the world do you think DONT have some big experience at some point in their lives, after which everything changes? It was a pretty safe bet for your 'palm reader' to throw that one in. Come ON!

    And Stephanie, maybe he just read you blog?

  13. I feel privileged that Stephanie shares her experiences with us, but people crapping all over them just ruins it. Palm readers may or may not be bullshit. Who really knows….I don't think that's the point of this story. I think the more interesting point is that, Steph, after all she's been through in life, lives hopefully. She's open to these kinds of experiences. Maybe good things will happen to her… I'm willing to believe it.

  14. To think, all I got out of my cab ride was a pine fresh smell.

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