Monday, 14 February 2011

Karmic balance

I wasn't actually feeling truly evil this morning. Petty? Hell yes! But not evil. My morning commute does not bring out the best in me, but I know I'm not the only one, and and I'm rather glad to know that I'm not alone in the desire to level other commuters for something they probably don't even realize they're doing (or at the very least could care less that they are).

Comments on my last post made me laugh and dispelled any residual guilt I might have been feeling. But that doesn't mean I didn't jump at the chance to right my karma on my way home.

I came down the stairs from the platform, almost home and mentally running through my shopping list. But I still caught what most of the other tired commuters missed - the old man standing by the elevator juggling bags of shopping, his big umbrella, and a walking stick. Or at least he was trying to juggle it all. The bags were just a little too much, however, and his walking stick clattered to the ground. He steadied himself with his right arm against the railing, turning his back on his dropped stick as he tried to manage everything in his left hand. The sea of commuters washed past in a rush to get to the gate. I fought against the tide, however, and broke through. When I got to the clear area by the elevator I leaned down and picked up the walking stick. The man slowly turned around and I gave him a smile and said "dozo" as I held out his stick.

I was feeling pretty self-satisfied and all warm and fuzzy for helping out the poor old guy. I was even congratulating myself for the karmic balancing act of helping out somebody who really needed the help after having done nothing this morning.

Then suddenly the cheesy music screeched to a halt as the old man just looked at me. He didn't seem quite sure what to make of me, but he reached out and coldly and very gingerly reclaimed his stick. He managed a weak thank you but it was clear from the glare he gave me as I turned away and the way he was gingerly holding his stick with only the very tips of his fingers that he was convinced I was out to get him in some way. Maybe he thought I had infected his stick with all sorts of horrible disease, covering it with the spores of some sort of gaijin pox in the few seconds that I had held it?

Who knows.

I let the crowd of commuters carry me out the gates, did my grocery shopping, and went home, keeping my eyes firmly on the ground in front of me so as not to notice anything that might be dropped. I've had quite enough of that for one day.


  1. God, sometimes you just can't win!

  2. I know! Part of me wanted to grab it back, drop it back on the ground, and storm off. But I though better of it as the guy might just be confused or something. But it does make me wonder about helping people...

  3. Crazy. I love the part, 'Then suddenly the cheesy music screeched to a halt...' You did good! love and hugs, C