Last Saturday I took a long walk through the Village that included a stroll through Washington Square Park. I sat for a while on the side of the fountain, watching children run through the spray while hipsters—books (and e-books) in hand —cooled their feet and a Rottweiler bathed languidly against a backdrop of the arch and the Empire State Building. This, I thought, is Manhattan in the summer.
On my way out of the park, I passed a nondescript, brown dog standing inside a semi-circle of chalk labeled, “Happy Fortune Teller.” At the other end of the leash was a young woman in a long, flowing skirt with a sack slumped at her feet. I slowed down. I stopped and stared. Then I started walking again, passing under the shadow of the arch and out of the park.
Then I doubled back. If there was even a chance that that dog might read my fortune, I couldn’t live with myself if I passed it up. A dog telling fortunes—that’s everything I stand for. Lest you think I jumped to a ridiculous conclusion, I would like you to know that I had already passed several bands, a professional bubble-blower and a sand artist. A dog fortune teller seemed totally in context.
“Does this dog tell fortunes?” I asked the young woman, feeling stupid but so hopeful.
“No, we just had the bad luck of standing in this spot,” she said. I thought it was good luck, but I didn’t argue.
It turned out, the dog, Scarlett, was having a big day of her own. She was in Manhattan for the very first time, and feeling nervous about it, which is why I didn’t ask to take her picture. She was on her way to her parent’s wedding , in the company of her friendly human escort.
So a dog didn’t read my fortune, but:
- It is amazing how easy it is to make a small connection with other people in this city.
- Somewhere, there’s a person offering happy fortunes, and that should give us all hope.