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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Today's Karma



Last night, I stayed in the city, as I usually do on Wednesday nights--it saves on time and gas, since I have to come back on Thursday anyhow....I haven't gotten brave enough to stay in the city for TWO nights in a row, yet, because sometimes DH forgets to take care of the animals and I can't stand the thought of that....but anyhow....today, after I got up, I went to the post office, as I had to send some money to pay some of DH's Dr. bills--the billing office has been getting rather cranky! So anyhow, there was a customer at the counter who was asking lots of questions, taking a lot more time than anyone ever thought a person could take at a post office....so after I waited in line for about 10 minutes, another waiting person, a scraggly old guy in filthy clothes, who looked kind of frail, said, "This is just taking too long!" and walked out. I remember thinking he looked like a classic example of a bum--gray hair, unkempt beard, absolutely filthy (we're talking almost shiny with filth), worn-out clothes....but beyond that, I didn't think much of it, because in that neck of the woods (in the city), you see ALL kinds of people and nothing really surprises me any more!

Anyhow, I got my stamps, mailed my bills, and walked out. The first thing I saw was an older (but still in pretty good shape) white car, with its hood up, signalling car trouble. Then I saw that same old man, looking at the car and looking kind of flustered. I asked him if he needed to use a phone, and he said that what he really needed was a ride home. I gave myself a few seconds to think about it, realized I was probably bigger than him and much more fit (although I'm not fit at all...sigh) and I offered to drive him home. The entire way, that little voice in my head was yelling at me. "You idiot! How on earth do you know he's safe? This isn't your small town where there is no crime!!! Why are you doing this?" And I couldn't answer myself, because I really didn't know why, other than he looked like he needed help. Luckily, he was not harmful, and I dropped him off at his house, an older, well-kept house in an older, but not slummy, part of town. I kicked myself for a while, mentally, and then just went on my way.

Now I'd like to tell you that he gave me a gazillion dollar reward or something like that, but the karma in this story is more subtle than that. I wasn't feeling really good about having helped, because I was aware that it had been unwise. But all of a sudden, people got nicer. In ways that I don't expect in the city. Someone let me go ahead of them in line. Someone else offered to take my cart back from the parking lot. People were smiling at me (and that's really weird in the city!) for no reason that I could see.

So, being the realist that I am, I came to the conclusion that really, those people probably weren't any nicer than they usually were. Maybe I was just noticing it more? Maybe I was subtly feeling better about helping than I thought I was and it was showing? All I know is that I have always been a very firm believer in "What goes around, comes around", even if I don't live to see that happen.

Anyhow, I figured that somehow, me helping that guy either temporarily changed the message I send to other people, or it changed the way I look at other people. Either way, all the positive interactions really made my day. So I'm not kicking myself any more.

2 comments:

Grace. said...

Karma's Karma, wherever or however you find it.

When I was in Japan, everyone was so dang friendly. It may have all been a facade, but the truth is, when everyone is smiling and treating you like a special person, you start to actually be a nicer person. Or at least I did!

jacker said...
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