Instant karma ain’t gonna get you – unless you dress up as a panda

6 Dec

I have always been a firm believer in karma. (Don’t make the mistake of crediting me with any true understanding of the deeper philosophy behind karma though – My Name is Earl is more my inspiration.) What goes around, comes around. That’s why I don’t get too stressed by people I don’t like, people who annoy me and people who get places by stamping their dirty boots on the heads of others. Just wait long enough and someone will stick an enormous foot out in front of them and they’ll trip right over it. They’ll be found out in the end, and, I hope, with a great big thud. No, really, it’s okay to think like that – I’m not wishing them ill, karma is. I’m not a patient person but the thought of karma’s eventual arrival  (maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon …) can unburden you of all the frustrations of not being able to give someone  a good kick up the ass yourself.  Quite calming really.

So when this morning I (politely) made a man on an overcrowded train – bristling with the near constant anger of First Capital Connect commuters –  give up his seat for another pregnant woman, I expected the rest of my day to be full of positive things. Just a few rainbows and sparkles and pots of gold to reward me for the slightly risky manoeuvre of (a) challenging an already fired up commuter and (b) assuming a woman was pregnant when she could simply have been harbouring a well-tended gut. Perhaps I overanticipated the rapidity with which karma gives you a call to say thanks, but the only highlight in my day was being offered some instant coffee by a colleague in lieu of the broken coffee machine. I was of course very grateful and such small things alone can make a day. But I wanted more. Perhaps the woman on the train was just not pregnant enough to reap me big rewards.

Despite the disappointing day, I did still hold out the hope that karma would come up trumps in the final minutes and maybe, just maybe, someone would give me their seat on the cattle truck home. Did they heck. Like I say though, small things alone can make a day and the world suddenly seemed a brighter, more lovely place when I read a newspaper story on the train about researchers at a conservation centre in China dressing up as pandas in order to tend a cub. Okay, so it wasn’t all about the good work they were doing – photos of people in slightly implausible bear suits looking after a completely oblivious baby panda are pretty funny. But these have got to be the people who will one day reap the rewards of their human kindness and willingness to go that extra (albeit slightly silly) mile. There will be a Great Big Panda in the sky who will recognise that humanity, reach down, remove their fake panda heads and give them a shy panda kiss on the forehead.

This is why tomorrow I’ll share a few words from Lennon with my fellow angry (very, very angry) commuters: “Why in the world are we here/Surely not to live in pain and fear”. And I’ll quickly put on my fake panda head and prepare to be punched.


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