No, seriously. I don’t really go for astrology. I can’t remember the last time I read a horoscope. My husband and I are supposedly compatible and my best friends have always been Leos, but aside from that, it’s pretty much not something I think about.
Except Mercury Retrograde.
Mercury Retrograde is a period that happens something like three or four times a year, during which Mercury is at a point in its orbit, relative to the earth’s orbit, that it looks like it’s moving backwards.
Here’s a summary of the effects, courtesy of Astrologycom.com [sic]:
Mercury retrograde gives rise to personal misunderstandings; flawed, disrupted, or delayed communications, negotiations and trade; glitches and breakdowns with phones, computers, cars, buses, and trains. And all of these problems usually arise because some crucial piece of information, or component, has gone astray or awry.
The “real” explanation is that it’s a time to slow down and really think about things–not once, but twice. Remember “measure twice, cut once”? Someone thought that up during Mercury Retrograde.
But I generally just think of it as a time of utter face-melting chaos.
The best advice I can give you is: Don’t go anywhere. Don’t buy anything. Don’t sign anything. Don’t agree to anything. Don’t turn on any electronic equipment. Basically, don’t leave your bed.
In my heart, I don’t really believe that the movement of the stars and planets has much to do with my day-to-day life. But I will always be afraid of Mercury Retrograde, because the day I found out about it was the Monday after the most surreal weekend of my life.
Many bizarre things happened that weekend. But here is a point-by-point replay of the five-minute sequence that kicked it all off, and will forever be held in my memory as one of the most stressful episodes ever:
(1) A prospective employer is supposed to call my job for a reference. Prospective employer gets stuck in a meeting until 2:58 pm. Reference Lady is supposed to leave for the weekend at 3 p.m.
(2) Reference Lady is out the door two minutes early.
(3) I run outside to catch Reference Lady as she leaves. I run to the car and stop her just as she is pulling onto the private road next to our office building.
(4) She opens the door to see what’s wrong, and Blondie, the stray dog she had been bringing with her to work, jumps out of the car and runs off. (In retrospect, he was probably protesting the indignity of being a boy dog named “Blondie.”)
(5) She shuts off the car, and the chase is on. We are yelling, “NOOOO! BLONDIE!” and following the dog, who is having the best time of his entire life. He darts into a busy intersection on Wilshire Boulevard, which happens to be one of the major surface roads in Los Angeles.
(6) Reference Lady, running, trips and falls in the middle of the private drive.
(7) I follow Blondie into traffic. I am dodging eight lanes of traffic, and he is enjoying himself sooooo much. He runs to a crowded bus stop and sits down in the middle of a group of approximately 20 people, ALL of whom are watching me try to avoid getting smashed into a pancake on Wilshire Boulevard, NONE of whom are interested in helping.
(8) “What is WRONG with you?!?!” I shout at the people (yes, I really did yell that). “GRAB THE DOG!”
(9) No one grabs the dog, maybe because he has decided to run back across the street. I follow.
(10) Meanwhile, a nice man with a Very Expensive Car has stopped to help Reference Lady. In his rush to be a good Samaritan, he has left his Very Expensive Car Door open.
(11) Perhaps tired from his adventure, or maybe just enchanted by the smell of Italian leather, Blondie decides that the Very Expensive Car is the place to be. He jumps inside and sits quietly on the passenger seat.
So, following that, we went inside. Reference Lady called and gave me a great reference (despite all the trauma and bodily injury she’d sustained), and I got the job, which ended up being one of those jobs you use as a “paying your dues” parable for the rest of your career. So I’m not sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing.
I wish I could remember more of what happened that weekend, but I’ve apparently blocked it out. Suffice to say, the crowning moment was when a friend was blending up some steaming hot broccoli and it exploded out of the blender.
I would like to say, “And steaming hot, half-blended broccoli went everywhere!!”, but that would be a lie. It only went on me. On my face. (I had light pink spots on my skin for a few days, but fortunately nothing long-term.)
The next day, someone mentioned to me that Mercury was in retrograde. As soon as I looked it up, I developed a lifelong neurosis (like I need more of those!) about it. There is nothing quite like the sinking feeling I get when my computer starts bucking and spitting, my phone locks up, and my travel gets all wonkified.
So if you’re ever having one of those days, or weeks, I double-dog dare you see if mean old Mercury has you tied up in knots.
Oh, and one last request:
If you’re ever sitting at a bus stop, and a dog runs up, and someone is darting through traffic trying to catch it–for the love of Pete, reach out and grab the darn dog’s collar!
Thanks for stopping by! And you should be relieved to know we just got OUT of a retrograde period, so breathe easier… for now. (Dun dun DUUUUN!)
PS – Since I wrote this post, I have discovered that Mercury is still after me. Because I accidentally deleted TWO comments in about a four minute period. (Ironically, Marsha’s comment asked, “Are you sure we’re out of Mercury Retrograde?” and my reply would have been, “Of course!” but then, you know, the stars smacked me in the back of the head and made me hit the wrong link.)