Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Tale of Karma and Television

This happened over a year ago, when I was sitting in my girlfriend Sweet's living room, typing away on my laptop, happy as a clam.

Sweet came storming into the room and, completely out of the blue, hollered, "At eight o'clock I'm watching Big Brother. If you've got a problem with that, you can just go upstairs. I don't want this to be a whole big argument. If you don't want to watch it, take your laptop and write for the hour."

I looked at her like she had three heads. We hadn't been talking, hadn't even been in the same room, and suddenly she's coming at me like a hurricane? And all because of Big Brother? It was so unlike her. Very, very bizarre.

So I said, "It's your house, watch whatever you want," trying not to sound as defensive as I felt.

Okay, I can be a little critical of Sweet's tastes, especially when it comes to American pop culture and reality TV. Maybe she takes things to heart more than she lets on. Maybe my little jabs had been building up inside of her.

Even if that's the case, her outburst was so weirdly unprovoked that it kind of made me want to laugh. I wanted to ask her, "Why are you getting so worked up over some stupid TV show?"

But I didn't say anything, just closed my computer and watched my Sweet pick up the television remote. She turned the TV on, but there was only a blue screen. She asked me, not accusingly at this point, if I'd changed any settings or if I'd had the TV on when she was at work during the day. I hadn't. She flipped through settings, trying to get a signal, but... nothing.

The cable was out.

Now, I'm sure I'll sound like a horrible person when I say this, but in that moment I felt a tad vindicated. Ha ha, you let TV take control of your emotions, and now you don't get to watch your show. Karma's gonna getcha every time, babe.

I know. I sound mean. And, in fact, I felt mean, thinking that way. There's just something so satisfying, whether it's your karmic debt or somebody else's, in seeing it resolved with such immediacy.

Instead of being a bitch about it, I chose to recognize my girlfriend's disappointment. There was nothing she could do about missing the TV show she wanted to watch (the cable was out for another two days after that). Sweet could have spent that whole night irritable, but she didn't. She brought out her DVD collection and we sorted through movies until we found one we both wanted to watch. Karma resolved, it turned into an unexpectedly cozy evening.

And for Karma unbelievers, this is complete coincidence: You're mean to me, the TV is mean to you. It sounds silly, I know. I know, but I don't care. Keeping Karma at the forefront of my mind encourages me to do good and avoid meanness. I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks that way.


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