I caught my morning bus at the top of the route, a few minutes before it was going to start out again. I was minding my own business, when suddenly I heard the older woman across from me ask, “Is that one of them permanent tattoos?” I said yes, and when she asked what it was, explained that it was three tarot cards. Looking incredulous, she wondered, “Why would you want to get tarot cards on your arm?” So I told her I like how the looked, and that they had meaning to me, and she sort of snorted and looked about ready to say something further (and presumably more insulting), when the bus driver got up and walked over to me.
He leaned over the seats in front of me, and said, quietly, “I have a question for you, about tarot. Can you tell me when my big windfall is coming? Serious question. Could you take out your cards and ask?”
I apologized gently and explained that I don’t believe the cards can predict the future. He nodded, looking sad, and went back up to the driver’s seat, and I felt uncomfortable and a little heartbroken.
(I barely had time to register what had just happened before the anti-tattoo woman started telling me all about her sleep apnea. Thankfully, she got off at the next stop.)
When I walked to the front of the bus a bit before my stop, the driver asked if he could ask me another question. I said yes, and he said, “Can the cards tell you anything? Because they can’t just be for entertainment value.” And I explained that yes, they could; that I believe that tarot cards can help us to look at situations in new ways, to see things we might not notice otherwise. He nodded, and asked me what my general method was. Then he explained that his brother had just left to return to London after a couple of weeks here (and after more than seven years away), and that it had him thinking about things and feeling sort of anxious about life. Then he said when he retired, he thought he might study Indian astrology, because he went to India once, and there was a man there who was startlingly spot-on with a reading.
Before I got off the bus, I asked him his name and gave him mine. I may not be able to predict his future, but at least I can send some good vibes out into the universe for him.
This was not a consequence I had considered when I got a tarot tattoo. On the bright side, I now know that I am able to establish boundaries in the moment. At the same time, I am realizing I will need to work on strengthening those boundaries, because there is a part of me that still feels like I should have done something more to make his day a little better, at least.