One of my first magical customer experiences when I was working at Waffle House was back in 2013. I was 22 years old, freshly college educated and constantly stressed, therefore constantly ticking. I believe it was solely an EEEE vocal tic I called a bark, but it was much more frequent. And yes, I was hella hella manic and didn’t know it.
There was a customer who came in and sat in the booth up against the back two way mirror into the office, and came in every day for a week that spring. He was a middle aged chunky white guy with a black Elvis hairdo. He was in town for a week, giving some sort of literature lecture daily to the English students at Wright State, and he needed space to kill some time and someone to expend some extra social energy.
He’d tip a solid $10 every night that week.
He put $5 in the jukebox everyday and let the waitresses pick the songs.
I want to say his name was Eric.
It was apparent that his energy wavelengths were complimenting my own: he would often pick up tabs of older military men dining by themselves, and he even bought Rob the homeless guy his favorite cheap lunch (two original cheeses add grilled jalapeños). Who knows, maybe the hypomania got the best of me, but I went up to him one night after he finished his smothered hashbrowns and over medium eggs with “the whites a little too runny but they’re still good eggs”, and I said to this man: “Sir, there is something special about you. You are obviously a human being with substance. So what’s your secret?”
Can you imagine your Waffle House waitress complimenting some sort of sage wiseness residing in you and asking how it came about, only knowing her an eye’s wink of time? Well that’s what I did with this man here.
The older man lowered his eyes and his midwestern framed glasses drooped low to the point of his nose. “What is your spirit animal? What clan are you from?”
“Bear,” I answered, happy and intrigued with his response. “I mean, it runs in the family”
His eyes lit up and he started shaking his finger my direction. “I knew you were a shaman girl. A bear, huh? One of those healing types….”
While he was lost in thought, I grabbed his empty plate and refilled his coffee cup, pivoting on one foot to the fridge to grab a handful of creamers for the guy.
When I came back, he had lifted up his t shirt sleeve, exposing a worn tattoo of an eagle on the freckled part of his fatty bicep.
“I’m an Eagle, not a bald one mind you, but a fine feathered bird of prey,”
I forget the attributes he described them as. But the rest of that night we talked shamanism.
How often do you reach ascension?
How often do you meditate?
What are your totems like?
What herbs do you like to cleanse with?
I asked him how to stop the tics for good. He said something like “There is no stopping them, only healing yourself to the point where they slow themselves down. You are a healer after all, you ursus you.“
The cook and other waitress were probably listening to our conversation thinking like … wtf
But fuck it.
Before I left, Eric found me in the parking lot and said that he had something that he thought long and hard, and decided he wanted to give me. It was a wooden hand carved worn in Buddha figure. He said that one day, he was following a group of Buddhist monks somewhere in Asia on a mountain and the figure fell out of one of their bags. Eric found it and tried to return it, but the monk said “no, it found its way” so, he wanted to pass it along to me so it can “find it’s way” with me.
He told me to hold it in my left hand and feel all the energy coming from the totem.
The first time I’ve ever felt a transfer of energy to an inanimate object or totem, consciously.
Where did that figurine go? Come to think of it, I think I bequeathed it to someone else who tried to give it back, and I told them “no, it found it’s way”