Karma, Murphy, whatever you call it.

Does karma exist? Do your actions have consequences in the short and distant future? Do people that deserve bad get all the good? Or, is that how it seems? What is Karma anyway?

You don't know when it'll catch up
You don’t know when it’ll catch up

I didn’t really believed in it up until about three or fours years ago. It was then that little by little I realized the power of actions, as small as they seemed, and how they would ripple through a lake of chaos, selfishness and speed. From the basic, what many of us call education–though it is nothing more than a forgotten principle–like greeting and holding the door, to the more complex actions that makes us question whether we are actually doing something or fueling something that needs to stop. A coin to a beggar might not stop the needle piercing his crackled veins. Or it might turn the tide, creating a fortune of sanity and health.

I’ve never been able to answer these questions, much like other theological conundrums. Then again I’ve never focused on these topics until now. No matter how trivial our everyday actions seem to become, there’s always something. That’s what I’ve begun to believe.

I was in class a couple of weeks ago, taking a English test. I don’t attend class regularly and only show up for the tests; it has worked out fine. After English, I have history in the same classroom. As everybody left I noticed a lunch box left behind. I picked it up, called out for anybody to come back but they all scuttled, a bit tired from class, and left me with it. After the teacher rapidly discarded any responsibility over it, I inquired with other students roaming the halls of the university until one warned. “If you care about it, or don’t want it lost, just keep. They steal everything here.”

Well, I did. I checked the contents. The pasta bolognese definitely had to go. The cookies and silverware didn’t. I cleaned the tupperware, put everything back in its original position and left the lunchbox in my apartment until the owner of said artifact would appear.

She did appear, about two weeks later, thankful and slightly surprised that I didn’t eat the cookies. (Celiac, long story). I didn’t make much of it.

Just two days later I was in class again. Friday night had come along with fatigue, stress and a heavy week, especially after getting two of my wisdom teeth removed. After an uneventful couple of subjects and a long break in between, I got home and decided to watch videos on my computer while I had dinner.

Lo and behold! I couldn’t find it. My laptop was missing and everything I had in it had vanished: panic ensued. I called classmates, even the professor (who understandably did not respond at 10:30 pm), but to no avail since no one knew where my laptop was. I climbed into my car and rushed back to my university as panicked, paranoid thoughts clouded my head. Did I back up that file? How about the other one? The novel? The novel! Relax. It’s triplicated. But the research for the other book isn’t. Oh crap!

After slamming on the brakes in front of a desolate, dark university, I knocked on the door and the guard came out, confused yet seemingly aware of the situation. I explained my side of the story–in which classed I had been and which rooms they corresponded to–and he requested my ID. Within seconds, he pulled out my laptop from his small office and handed it over to me. Instantly, I gave him an improvised reward: emptying my wallet. I didn’t care about money.

He rejected it at first but when he heard the explanation and just how much work was in this machine, he accepted grudgingly. I told him few people did what he did. Few actually were honest enough to keep the device until the proper owner appeared. Sadly, he agreed. I thanked him, rushed back home and sent all my files to my online backup. I’m still syncing.

Two things struck me that night: 1) I was, and am, so technologically dependent–specifically for my articles–that I cease to have control over what I’m writing. 2) Perhaps holding on to the lunchbox was useful.

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Author: Bernardo Montes de Oca

Journalism. Writing. Life. Periodismo. Escritura. Vida.

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