Imagine my surprise when two leaves founder Richard Rosenfeld calls me into his office to discuss the blog, and mentions Mercury in retrograde.
Huh? Please don't tell me this is a tea company that bases major decisions on astrology.
I guess that depends on your definition of "major decisions." It turns out Richard's mother was a practicing astrologer for 35 years, doing consultations (or reading, based on the alignment of the planets), and family counseling. I got on the phone with Dee Dee Rosenfeld of Hilton Head, S.C., and here's what she said about the planet of Mercury being in retrograde:
"Anything that can happen, will happen. You hear from people you haven't heard from in a while, you lose things and find them. It affects travel, communication and electronics. Never put a new program on your computer [when Mercury is in retrograde]. It'll screw up your computer as sure as God made green apples."
Sounds like a normal week to me. Dee Dee is quite charming and persuasive, but I'm still skeptical. It might have to do with the fact that my dad is an astronomer, a profession that doesn't exactly gel with Dee Dee's metaphysical side. My dad's work involves the alignment of stars and planets for the sake of science, which is why Dee Dee describes astrology as "an art, not a science."
To be clear, the term "Mercury in retrograde" is an astronomical one, indicating a time during the planet's rotation around the sun when it appears from earth to be traveling backwards in the sky. (And yeah, I called my dad to make sure I got the wording of that right.) And Mercury's most recent period in retrograde is right now — from Sept. 7 to 29.
Richard says Mercury in retrograde has screwed up his travel plans, and made communications difficult. "I'm always careful to double check our outgoing tea orders to gardens during those times, and that our i's are dotted and the lot numbers are correct. When I'm traveling during that time I can assume that my flights will be late, and I schedule much wider connections."
I'm still not buying it, so we make a bet. Our warehouse is expecting a big shipment on Monday, Sept. 14, and Richard is certain that it's going to be late. If it's not, I win and he owes me a blog post.
Twenty minutes later he gets an e-mail: The boatload is going to be late, and won't arrive in California until Wednesday.
"It's an entire ship that always comes in at the same time!" he proclaims, looking slightly smug.
Okay Richard, you win. This time.
In the meantime, if my computer blows up while I'm trying to post this, I'm going to keep it to myself.