Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Testing the Hypothesis

My horoscope for 2012 says that I can make anything happen this year as long as I firmly believe in it. On the last day of 2011, I decide to test out the hypothesis on a few simple beliefs: I will get my shopping done in a timely manner despite the fact that there are already hordes of people circling the parking lot. I will find everything I need. I will meet lots of smiley happy-new-year people.

When I get into the plaza, there is a line up of honking cars to my left. But behold, to the right, I see a nice little spot from which I can drive straight out. It appears I am the only one willing to walk more than seven steps. I throw my reusable bags into a cart (for which I have to walk several more steps) and I am ready to surge into the crowd, list and all.

I headed out without prettying up either. The headlines from trashy magazines greet me at the door screaming: Stars Without Make-up! They’ve caught me.

In many of the aisles, people with carts are streaming both ways. A sensation of logs jamming in a river, bumping into one another, creating rapids of ill feeling, seems to have overtaken everyone. In my new-found sense of believing, I smile at each of them, say I’m sorry even though they bumped into me, let them go in front of me, tuck my own cart out of the way when I need to reach the opposite shelf for an item. In other words, I am picture perfectly polite and perky. The fact that I am probably annoying the heck out of all the other logs is just a side benefit.

I do find all the groceries I need. But at first I find no shiny smiley people. They are frowning, rushing, bumping and grabbing instead. Many of them talk on their cell phones to someone at home—I want that brand—but I can’t find that brand—did you say one can or two—I’m sure you said two, but okay…One of my beliefs is starting to slip. I am beginning to doubt my horoscope.

Then suddenly, I discover my happy-new-year people. One lady helps me when my buggy wheels almost topple a stand of fresh bread. Another smiles at me when I allow her to go up the aisle first. Someone else says Happy New Year when we both find the meat we want and touch elbows in the process.

As I head for the checkout, I find a cashier with only one customer ahead of me. I smile and ask the cashier how she is and whether she gets to go home early today (she does). I say Happy New Year as I leave. None of my bags are over-packed and nothing is squished or falling out.

I get to my car, haul the groceries inside, and return the cart to its rightful spot. As I am easing out into the traffic, there is a clearing and I am almost home. To top it all off, the sun comes out.

So maybe it will be a Belieber year after all, just like our Canadian star from Stratford has declared. Perhaps I will find the audience for my books in 2012. People who like hard-hitting topics tucked inside a mystery because they know justice will be served in the end. Maybe I will finish those three books at which, lately, I have only occasionally been lobbing a few words.

Perhaps the Mayans were right: the world as we know it will end. Maybe love and hope will change the world after all.

Catherine Astolfo retired from education to pursue her true passion: writing. She self-published a novel series, The Emily Taylor Mysteries, through her own publishing company, Moe Publications. In 2005, Catherine was awarded a Brampton Arts Award for the first novel in the series, The Bridgeman. Recently, she won a four-book contract from Imajin Books for the e-versions of the series.
Catherine was the 2010-11 President of Crime Writers of Canada and is a member of Sisters in Crime Toronto. She is the co-owner of an ezine for writers and readers, Scribes Digest, and of Sisbro & Co. Inc., a film production company.
Check her out at www.catherineastolfo.com Or www.scribesdigest.com
Buy the books through links at www.imajinbooks.com


  1. Happy New Year, Cathy! I predict great things for you and your books in 2012.

  2. Thanks, Sue! My daughter and I started the ball rolling today by winning some money on a TV game show. It was a blast. We can't reveal the show yet, but we will. I plan to write a blog about it before I forget the details LOL

  3. Wow, congrats on the game show. How exciting! As for resolving to be positive, I find that if you greet people with a smile, you sometimes get one in return, but if you greet them with a scowl, you'll always to get one back!

  4. What fun. Let us know in time so we can watch for you.

  5. I love that image of you lobbing a few words occasionally at each manuscript. Practicing your serve?