"Are you on something?" he asked.
It turns out I was on a universal high because a few nights later I awoke at 3 a.m. from a dream that had supplied the answer: Paint the floor to look like acid-stained concrete! The next morning I searched the Internet and contacted every faux painter within a 50-mile radius. Only one, Deanne Lenehan Cunningham, agreed to come and take a look. She had never done a floor and was concerned whether her products would adhere to the sealant now on my floor. She said she would talk to the manufacturer, see if was possible, then give us an estimate.
When a week went by without a callback, my husband suggested I phone her, and that I also explore other alternatives just in case. Normally I tend toward the anxiously obsessive, and I would have already been doing that. Instead I told him it wasn't necessary because we already had a perfect kitchen floor. Secret-speak requires this odd future-present construction, which my husband came to call, "sounding like a moron."
But as Byrne so amply proves, the universe loves people who sound like morons. Deanne finally got back to us, said she could do it, and that she would charge us $912. We now have a gorgeous, glowing floor. And I had to admit just sitting back and letting my desires manifest freed up a lot of time—and was much more relaxing than trying to take care of things myself.
With that success, I moved on to my sinuses. Each spring, pollen causes my nose to resemble a drip irrigation device. I spend months spraying my nostrils and popping antihistamines. Why not put in a Secret request to get rid of my allergies? After all, the fiftysomething Byrne describes how it took her only three days of proper thinking to get rid of her reading glasses and restore her eyesight to that of a twentysomething. So I shelved the drugs, walked my dog, breathed deep, and expressed gratitude for my sensational sinuses.
This worked great for weeks, through one of the most frigid springs on record, and I was starting to think that maybe my father was right, maybe people like Byrne really knew how the world worked. Then the weather warmed up and the air was thick with pollen. My eyes swelled, my nose started pouring, and I ended up with a sinus infection and a bag of medications from the otolaryngologist. Of course, one could say The Secret failed. But look at it this way: When I first started imagining myself drip-free, the universe responded by sending a cold snap! Then because I became so blasé about my sinuses, the universe decided to warm things up again. Surely there is a lesson here for Al Gore.
Finally, the desk. I had spent months dragging myself around to furniture stores and cruising the Internet for the desk, which I can see quite clearly: It's sleek and made of steel, L-shaped, with plenty of work space on top and storage below. Unfortunately, no one who manufactures desks also sees it. Following The Secret's precepts, I stopped wasting my time looking for it and instead expressed my gratitude for its arrival. I've now spent six weeks visualizing this desk to no effect. Perhaps the problem is signal interference from my husband, who keeps suggesting I manifest the word Ikea into my search engine and just order a damn desk.
Or perhaps the problem is that millions of people are now putting in their orders and the universe's servers have crashed. Or maybe it's something else. As one of Byrne's favorites, Albert Einstein, said (in a quote that doesn't make it into The Secret): "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."