To relieve anxiety from the too-close-to-call 2008 presidential campaign, look to another election whose conclusion is all but foregone. Events leading up to the 2010 governor's election paint a clear path to California's future.
Local superstar Gavin Newsom has assembled a crack team of political advisers including Eric Jaye. For metaphysical advice, though, Newsom will turn to Peninsula hypnotist Carol Simone. For those of you who haven't heard of Simone — she prefers to go without her first name — she's the psychic, spiritual healer, and intuitive consultant who reportedly gave Newsom advice about his internal life before she officiated at his recent Montana wedding. Comparisons have been made between Simone and Joan Quigley, the San Francisco astrologist who helped Nancy Reagan plan the timing of international summits. But Simone won't be giving secondhand advice to California's first executive: She'll transmit wisdom from the spirit world directly to Gov. Newsom's ear.
SF Weekly bought a copy of Simone's novel, The Goddess of Fifth Avenue, to divine how she might help Newsom solve problems cited by frustrated Californians, who, conveniently, pose their questions for the future governor in a Dear Abby format.
My boss, a state assemblyman, is always tardy. Now he's two months late producing a budget for California. Should I speak up? Or should I accept procrastination as part of the creative process?
Dear Bored Waiting,
Sometimes we put things off waiting for what turns out to be the perfect moment.
"It's taken some time for me to get ready for my appointment with the goddess who lives beneath the ocean. Ever since I was a little girl I have avoided all kinds of deep water, fearing that I would be swept away into a sea of destructive emotion. ... And then the goddess Quan Yin appeared. It was she who invited me to open my heart and leave this troubled world for a more heavenly destination: Lemuria, a continent destroyed by Atlantis a long, long time ago, floating now in a dimension far beneath the Pacific. Lemuria, a civilization that has mystically reemerged, and where, even today, peace prevails."
I'm principal of a 1,200-student high school in Stockton which has been struggling with low test scores, violence, and decaying buildings. During the past three years I'd been able to hire five new, talented teachers who've got students pumped up in classes like math and biology, a new counselor who's helping troublesome students cope with broken home lives, and set aside some money to repave the basketball court. With California's 2008 budget shortfall we're looking at laying off the teachers and counselor and putting up with potholed playgrounds. How do I hold this school, and my head, together?
Dear Principally Undone,
Teach your students to change focus from the physical to the spirit realm.
"I cashed in my IRAs, sold my luxurious East Fifties brownstone, and the black Saab convertible I was nervous about driving in New York City anyway. I dumped my overstuffed Chanel makeup bag and Montblanc pens.
"Now my body is composed of rivers of moving light. ... I swim right alongside Her Majesty. An island floats like a fetus in the distance, protected from every angle by an aura of sacredness. Although it is far away it is massive. As we approach, I make out a pyramid positioned in the center, surrounded by palm trees and white stone structures. There are tender, gardenia-scented breezes and fields of golden wheat blowing in the warm wind. We are moving closer. A feeling comes over me, something old and familiar — I know I have been here before. This is Lemuria, the ending and the beginning."
My balloon payment kicked in on my new house four days after I lost my job at the box factory. I've applied for work at Home Depot and TGI Friday's with no luck. How do I keep my cool as Marge and the kids and I face foreclosure?
Almost Homeless in Brentwood
Dear Almost Homeless,
I, too, have felt the urge to jump out of the rat race. My advice: Why resist?
"When I finally began to open my eyes and hope for a bigger, saner world, an immortal tiger appeared. I helped a woman die wrapped in a garbage bag on Fifth Avenue near Tiffany's and a goddess entered my soul like a piece of violet silk, changing my life forever ...
"The sky is a marbled fuchsia. I begin the slow wade in. Gently, the lackadaisical waves slap at my legs and hips; I can feel the angelfish and tang bobbing below. The exhausting world — where I feel driven to please everyone, where I lose myself in the endless discord and disorder, the half-baked relationships with men and my chatterbox "coyote" mind — lies behind me now. With every step I am letting go of everything.
"Why wouldn't I leave? Knowing how extraordinary it is out there, what could hold me here? Besides, my spirit is ready now, and I have a crumpled map of Lemuria here in my hand. I feel quite confident that I will find it."
What the fuck are you talking about?
Now Homeless in Brentwood
Don't you get it? Me and Gav are going to the statehouse.
"I found the neatly folded map of Lemuria. ... As I relaxed deeper into the yellowed blueprint, an odd thing occurred. At first I thought it was just my imagination, but soon I realized that hieroglyphic symbols were emerging through the paper. They seemed to reveal themselves like lost artifacts that formed a secret language appearing instantaneously, only for me. 'Come closer,' they whispered. 'Closer still.'"
Does Gavin Newsom buy this crap? Do flaky rich people really believe everything will be better if we all just fantasize about New Age fairy tales?
The state capitol. The governor's mansion.
It'll all be ours.
"I began to sense the presence of the invisible civilization, the lost dimension beneath the ocean where I might begin a very different kind of adventure: my apprenticeship with the goddess. I closed my eyes and felt the black lava rocks ... reaching out to me."
A New Age twit can't possibly become governor of California. Can he?
Appalled Legislative Aide
Oh, yeah. Me and Gavin. In the governor's temple. In Sacramento.
"The sultry wind caresses my face. A misty, open gardenia is poised behind my ear. I am draped only in a piece of lavender silk. In the distance, a mother whale breaches, her baby at her side. Luscious. Ripe. The sun, the water, the volcanic red earth breath out of me from every pore. ... I am at the door to the ancient temple ... the sacred space where I will learn to celebrate the timeless art of compassion and joy, of ultimate softness. My trembling hands push the heavy door open. I sense destiny all around me."