I am reminded of karma when I stop to notice. I imagine I am witnessing a state of cause and effect in real time when I see a good turn of one person rewarded by another, in the same setting. However inaccurate I may be about the timing of the mechanism (mother nature moving at a pace so monumentally different from my own) the mechanism itself I believe to be at work all the time. That for every person’s thought, action, and deed a ripple is made, an equal and opposite reaction must inevitably occur, however far removed in time and space from the initial event, being bounded only by the lifetime of the individual.
Letting my hair down after a shower, as plain and unassuming as I can be. Cruising down to the gourmet burger place in the mall. Ordering from the ‘to go’ menu at the bar, an aside to a neighborhood kind of respectable family restaurant. Standing behind a family man, also ordering to take-away; one-half a marriage unit and still roughly assumed to be a families’ primary breadwinner. He’s afforded, as expected, a modicum more respect than the overage hippie behind him in line.
We both wait, me on a barstool, him standing too near the service bar, rooting around for a paper cup and asking the bartender to fill it with soda for his baby girl. Reaching for his wallet, the bartender waves away his attempt to pay for filling such a dainty cup (a gesture of kindness obviously deserving of a gratuity). The family man puts his wallet away, continues to wait until the bartender cheerily hands over his family size meal-in-a-bag, and with the briefest of thanks, departs. No tip.
The bartender didn’t offer me a drink while I waited, for free or otherwise, like she did for the family man. I didn’t ask for and didn’t receive any perks with my meal. But since I’d seen her try so hard to please, which in turn pleased me, I slid her a couple of singles on top of the Visa slip that she gave me to sign, and the shine of gratitude in her smile pleased me again. Just for a moment, I felt like the instrument of karma, but in a good way; and since I rewarded her for what I just saw her do (having never met her before), I’m dubbing the act to a belief in what the dearly beloved John Lennon called, ‘instant karma.’