bad karma

I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few years trying to make sure the universe and I are on the same page.

The universe?

You know, the “universe” which, according to sources like The Secret, a certain Tarot card reader I know and my therapist, returns to you what you put out into the world. Like a great cosmic boomerang, the universe’s law of attraction throws you what you ask for, even when you don’t realize that that’s what you ordered.

Accordingly, not only does douchy behavior beget douchy circumstances, but thoughts and words can become self-fulfilling prophesies. So while I try to make it a priority not to act like a douche bag to others, it can be challenging having all bright and sunny thoughts and conversation when my default mode is self-deprecation.

So, since my divorce I’ve tried to be clear about what I want. I’ve written down where I see myself professionally/romantically/personally a year from now, five years from now and so on.

I even cobbled together a list in my journal of qualities that I am looking for in a partner. It’s kind of great, actually, like placing an order at a deli.

“I’ll take smart with a side of respectful, hold the bully. And maybe some integrity on the side. Oh, and funny. Definitely extra funny. (You can slather that on, it’s like the secret sauce).”

But as I close in on the three-year anniversary of my divorce, my still-single status is making me wonder if perhaps the universe and I are not speaking the same language. Like I’m screaming “Hey! I’d like a really good man in my life!” in the universe’s equivalent of Mandarin when I really should be using sign language because the universe is fucking deaf.

I mean even a friend who recently announced, out of the blue, that she was leaving her husband is already madly in love with someone else.

Clearly, it’s me. Maybe I’m just too happy being single.

My eyebrow girl, who has served as a sounding board for me over the years while she tends to my brows and moustache, suggested I try making eye contact and smiling at strangers, which is the opposite of my natural inclination to quickly look the other way and pretend I’m invisible.

She even helped me create a mantra, “I am open to romantic love with a good man,” to let the universe know that I meant business (witness “romantic” love and “good” man).

I briefly considered working with that Tarot card reader a few months ago after being told that my heart chakra was blocked, thus preventing love from entering my life. I was actually going to fork over a few hundred dollars for three hour-long sessions for her to help me pry that thing open. But then I got a hold of my senses and realized I’d really rather just buy a great new pair of shoes.

So it was the universe I was worried about sending mixed messages to the other day when I found myself writing my phone number down on a blank piece of register tape for the check out guy at Trader Joe’s who told me I had a nice smile.

I had thought he was pretty chatty as he asked me about my day while bagging my faro and frozen fruit, but I didn’t really see where things were heading. But then he asked me if my husband worked from home like me, and I thought, “That’s a weird thing for a checkout guy to ask.”

Still, I was blindsided when he asked, while waiting for my credit card authorization, if he could contact me some time to “talk.”

Number one: As noted, that does not happen to me every day. Check out guys hitting on me. C’mon. I was so surprised I didn’t have time to react. I had to make a quick decision and slink away before he started ringing up the woman behind me.

Number two: I don’t want the universe to think that I’m not open to love when it was so clearly showing me, right there at the cash register, that at least the check out guy thought I was. Maybe this was some kind of a test.

I kept a straight face long enough to get out to my car and hide inside until my girlfriend answered the phone and I started howling with laughter. I think she thought I was crying at first.

I mean, seriously, I make a list of like 100 attributes I’d like in a mate — everything from his height to the absence of a felony charge or conviction — and this is the best the universe can muster?

And don’t think he hasn’t already texted. And called. Twice.

But I think I’m just going to have to tell him that while I was flattered by his interest, I just can’t run the risk of having to hide every time I need to pick up chocolate covered almonds or Greek yogurt. Because love and companionship may come and go, y’all, but Trader Joe’s is forever.

I hope the universe is listening.

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