How karma works


Whenever it rains I sometimes think of this funny thing I once saw during another rainstorm about 15 years ago. . .

It had been raining pretty steadily for about 2 weeks. And I, as homeless street bum, had been outside for most of it. So I was more than a little bedraggled and wet behind the gills at this point. And the storm was just starting to peak and explode at this exact moment. Big sheets of water raining down, pounding against the pavement.

So I’m standing there on the street corner, soaking wet, waiting for the light to change. When this lady comes rushing out of Cody’s Books. She looks like an affluent, suburban housewife-type. Perfectly coifed. And she’s wearing an expensive rain jacket. And she has an expensive rain hat. And she has a big expensive high-tech umbrella. I mean, she probably only has to walk a half-a-block from Cody’s Books to her parked car. But you can tell that she is determined that not a single drop of water is gonna land on her pretty little head.

Meanwhile, I’m standing there in my raggedy-ass soggy-ass homeless street bum get-up. And I admit I felt more than a twinge of envy at her comfort level.

But then, just as she’s rushing across the street she accidentally steps in one of the biggest puddles I’ve ever seen. This big pot-hole in the road. She was submerged in water practically up to her knees. And what with all the splashing and kicking she got pretty soaked.

I burst out laughing. HAW HAW!! I couldn’t help it. It was so funny. I mean, the one thing that she wanted to prevent from happening is exactly what happened.

So I turn to cross the street with a bemused smile on my face. And at that exact moment a big AC Transit bus goes blasting down the street. And it hits this big puddle of water in the gutter. And the water splashes right up in my face. It was like getting directly hit by an ocean wave. Almost knocked me over.

So now I’m standing there sputtering and cursing and completely soaked. And, to add insult to injury, all the people who had seen me laughing at the lady are now pointing at me and laughing at me (personally, I didn’t find it nearly as amusing as the previous incident).

But in a way it was great. It was a perfect illustration of how karma works. Karmauppance. What goes around comes around. Only usually there’s a little more of a time lag between the cause and the effect.


Life is ironic, ain’t it?


I tend to have an ironic slant on life.

I remember this one night, it was right in the middle of the winter rainy season.  Now when you’re living on the streets you do everything you can to avoid the rain.  Because once you get wet, once your clothes get wet, especially once your shoes and socks get wet, you could end up spending the next couple of days walking around in wet clothes before you finally manage to dry out.  And that can be very unpleasant.

So this one night I was congratulating myself.  Because it had been a major rainstorm.  It rained non-stop all day long.  But I had cleverly managed to stay dry all day long.  Managed to stay one step ahead of the rain.  Dry as a bone.  Huddling under awnings and in doorways and stuff like that.  Successfully finding shelter from the storm.

Finally, by the end of the night, it stopped raining.  So I got up from my nice, dry doorway and I walked over to these bushes on the Berkeley campus to retrieve my camping gear that I had stashed there.  And at that exact moment, their sprinkler system went off.  Suddenly I’m trapped within this exploding wall of water.  Spraying at me from every direction.   The water was completely unavoidable.  And I got soaked to the bone.  With a long, cold, wet night ahead of me.

I suppose you could call that ironic.