First things first: I do not consider myself psychic by popular definition. I am not a spiritual or particularly enlightened person. I'm just a former child prodigy and failed adult trying to raise two kids alone while running two businesses and going to school for the degree I should have finished before most of my peers had graduated high school and well before some of those reading this were even born. I don't have time to waste on nonsense.
Today, like many days, I had a moment of more than merely deja vu. Third time this week that I found myself in a completely unique moment that I'd already had the memory of for years. I have memories of reading articles that haven't been written yet, which is inconvenient for a writer. There's really nothing worse than picking up a paperback that mirrors, word for word, something you'd written a decade before and decided was not serious enough to pursue publishing, only to discover that you really weren't even that creative after all. I have memories of conversations with people I haven't met yet on topics I've read nothing about, which doesn't make for impressive first impressions. I even met my nephew (who I'm in the process of adopting), before my daughter (who is a year older) was even a thought. I was a bit surprised when my baby was born with my own almond shaped, dove grey eyes and auburn hair when I expected a towhead with the roundest, deepest, chocolate brown eyes you've ever seen. The day my sister-in-law called to tell me she was four months pregnant and ask me what I thought about abortion, I knew I'd be putting two kids through college on my own.
You see, I am the kind of guy they love to throw into ensemble casts: the socially inept know-it-all with the photographic memory who reads more in an hour than most people read in a month. Having an eidetic memory isn't all it's cracked up to be, though, and there's a lot more to me than just being a walking brain. I think there's some brooding mixed in there somewhere, too. My talents are many, but my true abilities are subtle and not particularly employable, which is why I'm not a famous writer or ace detective or curing cancer somewhere.
I'm kidding, a little.
I have, err, issues. I have dysfunctional levels of anxiety, for one, and a genetic disorder that gives me more in common with vampires than hipsters (sadly, my now almost five year old girl is showing clear symptoms of having inherited this rare condition). I'm accident prone or just unlucky: always in the wrong place at the wrong time. I've been concussed so many times I've lost count. I've lost more measurable IQ points than most people ever start with and am still well above average, even with brain damage. And that's not even really boasting. No, boasting would be to admit that I've read some of the works of current mensa members and realized that the top 2% isn't really that impressive when you might be the biggest brain on the planet. And that the biggest brain on the planet is very, very broken.
I don't have time to be psychic. I'm a very busy guy, and I probably won't live long enough to meet my grandchildren.
Having perfect recall and a brain that looks like scrambled eggs is kind of a wild ride. I can't actually tell which memories are "real" and which are impossible until the moment I remember happens in real time. Because of this inconvenient gnosis, I have an unusually difficult time keeping track of the passage of time. I almost never just know how old I am at any given moment. I have to pause and think about it. Sometimes, I actually have to ask how old I am, because I don't have enough information to calculate my own age. Seriously. I'm probably as close to a time lord as it gets. And it doesn't exactly help that I'll be thirty one in just a couple weeks, but still look seventeen, and a raw seventeen at that. When everything you remember is in perfect detail, with the same clarity and depth as life, with background noise and smells and feelings. The only reason I know that they are memories and not glimpses of parallel realities shifted in time, is that I can remember how I felt and what I thought in the moment, and have new insights upon reflecting.
I remember how it felt to wonder if this was love when I experienced my first whirlwind romance. And the bitterness I felt remembering that blissed out moment as it fell apart. How young I felt the next time, as the another relationship imploded. How very old I felt another time, and how very, very stupid I felt when I finally did experience true infatuation. And how very lucky I knew I was that I'd finally fallen for somebody who was really right for me. Always, the impossible memories would match up, reminding me that I was exactly where I was supposed to be, no matter how miserable I was or that nothing ever seemed to go according to plan. "If you want to hear God laugh: tell him your plans."
I've spent a lot of time pretending I'm not psychic. I've spent a lot of time explaining how porphyria is not vampirism. I've spent a lot of time trying very, very hard not to be a time lord or a braggart or a know-it-all. It's very difficult when you're proficient at everything you've ever attempted, but have trouble sorting out which leftovers in the refrigerator are safe to eat. I'm sure it's frustrating for my room mate. How can someone who can quote not one, but at least five ancient Greek writers on everything from philosophy to naturalism to medicine to folklore to metallurgy. Some of it in Greek. But can't remember which side of the mall he came in to the food court from or whether it's lunch or dinner.
Fortunately, I have a particularly useful ability that I rely on constantly: I am never lost and I can find anything, as long as I don't second guess my instincts. When I was little, I didn't have time for second thoughts, but as I've grown into my oddness, I've developed quite the knack for questioning myself. So I waste a lot of time worrying about correctness when I should really rely more on my track record: I am, after all, almost never wrong. And when I am, it's the worst kind of wrong: it's because I thought I might be wrong and changed course. I've gotten better at recognizing my mistakes in time to correct for them, though. I just wish this phenomenon worked in other aspects of my life!
Just last week I was on my way to pick up a sofa. My room mate and I took separate vehicles, because I had to remove both benches from my van to fit the sofa into it, and needed him to chauffeur my kids and help load up. I had never been to the area and hadn't taken the time to google the address. I'd barely glanced at the address as he'd taken it down, but was able to recall the house number and street, and he'd mentioned it being near the river. I hopped in the van and tried desperately to keep up, but my fuel light dinged just before I hit the freeway. He was miles ahead of me by then, anyway... I gassed up and trundled on, but felt drawn to exit two ramps earlier than I'd planned. I let my intuition guide me as I homed in on the place. Once I felt I was close, I felt inclined to turn again, but kept on and immediately passed the street! I doubled back and it was gated, so I cruised back to the street that had grabbed me before and circled around the block. I arrived without incident only seven minutes behind my room mate, who, even with GPS and more familiarity with the area, hadn't found the place so easily.
My closer friends (yes, even dorks like me have friends) tease me mercilessly (though affectionately) about being a "homeless pigeon" (I have never felt at home anywhere. I'm always restless and have the worst case of wanderlust...) and a magnet for trouble, and most other things that will hold a charge. My third unusual sensitivity/ability/whatnot is that magnets and electronics have an odd effect on me and I have an even stranger, though subtle, effect on them. I hadn't bothered to learn the names or purpose of many of the electrical components I soldered into circuit boards when I was a teenager. I just followed the schematics and could feel when it was right again. Now that I'm back in a repair field (automotive this time), I find again that I can often sense what's wrong and fix it, pinpointing the damaged part even if I have never encountered a problem like it before, even in systems I don't understand yet. It annoys the snot out of my room mate (who is the one who encouraged me to pursue automotive training based on my mechanical aptitude, having lingering phobias from serious accidents, and being a genius slacker... I agreed, because I might actually learn something new and useful.) that I can do diagnostics almost as well as he can, and he's been working on cars longer than I've been alive. Doesn't count, though, because it's totally cheating if you're psychic, right? He's not the only one I've annoyed with my weird affinity for machines.
An instructor last semester handed out starters for the class to disassemble. Maybe now is a good time to mention that I'm barely five five and all of a buck twenty soaking wet... Maybe it was subconscious, but the instructor happened to match each of us with a starter that just matched. The old gnarly guy got an old gnarly starter. The big guy got a big one. The tall lanky guy got a long awkward looking starter... And I got a tiny, delicate one that had been obviously mishandled. I picked out my tools and dissected this adorable little Japanese starter motor, laid all of it's pieces out neatly, and just sat there and cried silent angry tears at how some clumsy jerk had broken it. There was nothing wrong with it before whoever had taken it apart before me took it apart so roughly. They broke the graphite brushes, cross-threaded the bolts, tried to force it together turned half around. I put it back together, gently teasing all of the delicate parts into exact position... And I look up to see my professor watching me like I was something on National Geographic Channel. I wrote up extensive notes on the condition of this poor abused electric motor and correctly diagnosed the problem (the solenoid was seized up and shorted out internally, but was the kind that was fused to the motor, dooming the entire unit, though the starter itself was healthy until some klutz broke her brushes trying to shove the armature into the case by force... Which could have been easily diagnosed without opening the unit at all)... Considering I got a D (and have since discovered that most automotive professors assign grades arbitrarily), I suspect he may be the bozo that left tool marks on the poor thing. This has since become one of my room mate's favorite stories. He mentions that I would probably be very happy in a cute little Asian subcompact hatchback (though he insists nothing smaller than a full sized American sedan is safe on the freeway in LA) and that I should probably cry more, because I cry over abused starter motors but talk my kids out of crying over scraped knees and bruised egos almost daily.
These are just a few brief examples of how my sensitivities impact my reality, how I have made my brokenness work for me even though it was often held against me as a child. I could tell a thousand stories about instances where my personal oddness stretched into the bizarre and potentially paranormal, but I'm "mildly abnormal" anyway, and I suppose you'd have to expect normal to recognize something stranger than strange.
The strangest part of my story is that I'm not psychic. Not in the traditional sense. Everything I do is verifiable and duplicable, at least, what is observable. Obviously nobody can crawl into my head and experience the memories or the locating or the electrical integrity... But I kept notes of minutia for years tracking unreal memories and live instances. My ability to navigate by intuition alone is tested daily, as I can't remember where I've parked my car when I've parked in nearly every spot at least once in some of the lots I frequent, and can't always recall which vehicle I'm looking for (and I'm colorblind to ice the cake.) on any given day. My ability to sense and influence magnets and electronics has been extensively tested under laboratory conditions and seems to be something all people could do if they were inclined to. It's a physiological phenomenon, like a sixth sense, that we all have and mostly just ignore. We actually have something more like twenty senses, not just the classical five.
So, to everybody out there who's afraid they're crazy. The human brain is capable of things that the human race can't completely explain yet. If being psychic helps you be less afraid of yourself, be psychic, but if not, just try to be less afraid. Most of these things are not paranormal experiences, just our brains doing things we aren't prepared to accept. Like, I hear my name shouted in empty places; always in my mother's voice. I hear this because I am afraid of my mother sneaking up on me, not because my mother is actually sneaking up on me (usually). It's going to be okay. Just trust yourself and roll with it. Make it work for you and try not to care if it's inconvenient for anybody else. Nobody else has to walk in your shoes. If your abilities chaff, you're doing something wrong. Get comfortable with yourself and you'll be fine.
After all, there are real freaks like me out there wondering if three precognitive moments in a week qualifies one as being psychic enough to be a psychic.