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Baroscope #2

[whitespace] Steve Willis

The Baroscope's viability is called into question

By Traci Hukill

STEVE WILLIS IS A MAN of few words. A devoted father and avid gardener, at 36 Mr. Willis is enjoying the life of a gentleman bachelor. He bicycles regularly and relaxes now and then with a creamy vodka-and-Kahlua-enhanced concoction called a White Russian, which he says satisfies his sweet tooth. He is altogether a sociable and agreeable fellow. But chatty? No way. Fascinated by minutiae? Never. Gullible? Unequivocally not!

Mr. Willis reluctantly agreed to have his Baroscope read and his picture taken, claiming that his natural reticence makes him camera-shy. But finally he agreed to test Metro's innovative new astrological system and divulged his birth date, which falls on the cusp of Sagittarius and Capricorn. He then revealed that he doesn't get out all that much.

"And I don't drink beer," he added. "I'm allergic to yeast. I get clots in my lungs that make me think I'm having an asthma attack."

I began the reading. And Mr. Willis began, in his subtle way, to dismantle all my faith in the system to which I had lately devoted my entire self.

"According to the Baroscope," I said, "you probably experience an upsurge in intellectual activity in general, and talkativeness in particular, while playing billiards."

"Billiards? No. I'm not very good at pool."

"No? Well, how about this: you find yourself becoming very emotional and thinking about your mother when you're sitting in cocktail lounges like this one. That's your moon in Libra," I explained.

"Mmm, no. I come here because they make a great drink."

I began to sweat. "Well, it looks to me like you have an inordinate fondness for women who are strippers," I countered, brandishing the Venus-in-Scorpio column of the American Ephemeris at him.

"I've never been to a strip club" came the response.

I had to do some deep breathing exercises before I could go on.

"It says here you have Mars in Leo," I began calmly when my panic responses had slowed to normal. "That indicates a surplus of energy and even aggression when dancing salsa-style."

Trembling, I raised my eyes from the page and looked him in the face. If the Baroscope is a hoax, I thought, what shall become of me?

Mr. Willis' eyes, full of pity, met mine. Finally, he spoke these words:

"Latin music makes my blood boil."

I breathed a sigh of relief, thanked him and left the bar, and as I did I couldn't help but notice how much brighter colors seemed, how beautiful the expressions on strangers' faces were, how I'd never been happier in my whole life.

Then it was on to my next reading.

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From the June 17-23, 1999 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 1999 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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