Kit Steinkellner
June 02, 2015 6:15 am

You may have heard that “Mercury is in retrograde,” an astrological term that refers to the three to four times a year when, because Mercury is closer to the sun and its orbit is shorter than ours, meaning the planet speeds past us. It’s a three and a half week period in which, according to astrology, any aspect of your life that Mercury governs is thrown out of whack. Want to hear the list of the things in your life that Mercury governs? According to AstrologyZone, Mercury is in charge of “…all types of communication, including listening, speaking, learning, reading, editing, researching, negotiating, selling, and buying.”

“But that’s, like, everything,” you say.

“Well, it’s almost everything, but it’s not everything-everything,” I reassure you. “Mercury isn’t in charge of naps or snacks. You can still do those things.”

But yeah, if you believe in astrology, you believe that this three and a half week period we’re currently in is a nightmarish time in which you can’t buy anything or talk to anyone without basically everything going to heck.

“So is that why Mercury Retrograde is ruining your life?” you ask. “Is all that bad stuff happening to you?”

“No, everything’s fine with me,” I explain. “The problem is my mom believes in astrology and I don’t, so that anytime anything astrological happens she gets up in my grill and it temporarily ruins my life.”

Well, not ruin ruin. Just make pretty frustrating for a while. Like, for example, I need a new computer in the worst way, my laptop is seven year old, it’s a noble steed that has served its mistress most valiantly, but it’s on its creaky last legs. But when I started talking about getting a new computer, it was at the beginning of Mercury Retrograde (curses on my timing!) and if I tried to get a new laptop right now, I can promise you my mom would literally stand between me and the entrance to the Apple store (or find out later I had gotten a new computer and harangue me hard until I returned said computer and waited the requisite two weeks for Mercury to get out of retrograde whereupon I would be free to “make big purchases again”).

It’s not just Mercury being in retrograde, my mom also won’t let me send important e-mails/schedule meetings when “the Moon is void of course” because apparently any outcome decided at the time “won’t stick.”

“But the Moon is void of course EVERY DAY,” I whisper-scream. “Does that mean I can’t do anything EVERY DAY?”

“You’re being dramatic,” my mother chastises me. “It is not void of course EVERY DAY. It’s void of course maybe every OTHER day.”

This is the part where I run screaming into the night.

Of course, this the problem one runs into when one loves someone who believes in astrology. And, of course, this is also the problem one runs into when one who believes astrology loves someone who doesn’t believe in astrology. For my mother, the planets and stars are celestial bodies that portend fortune and destruction. For me, they’re big rocks and balls of fire hanging out millions of miles away. I can no more make a cynic out of my mother than she can make a believer out of me. We are basically like if Mulder and Scully were the Gilmore Girls. We would make amazing television because of how crazy we drive each other and how much we love each other.

I wish I had a good moral for this story. I don’t really. I’m just going to have to muscle through this retrograde and not blow my top at my mother every time she asks me “Can we just wait until AFTER Mercury is, you know…?” As maddening as these questions are, I know she’s just trying to love me and take care of me in her own starry-eyed way. And anyway: Only nine more days until Mercury Retrograde ends.

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