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karma

Every once in a while, I’m presented with a set of events which threaten my rejection of the supernatural. I know that this is to be be expected; there are six billion people on Earth, so 6000 people should experience one-in-a-million chances every time such dice are rolled. To be specific, let me speak of karma.

It’s hardly a rare notion that luck is a sort of credit account into which one can dip to improve their life, which must be replenished at intervals; it’s cropped up in everything from religion to roleplaying games. Even so, I don’t often have reason to think of it; my life in general has been a long series of things more or less going as expected, without much in the way of wild exceptions attributable to luck. That string broke a month ago.

Three weeks ago, I found out that I had been accepted into the WOFT program, that I would fly for the Army. To call myself thrilled would be an understatement–I really, really wanted in, and I had already given up on the prospect, having been rejected from my first pass through the application process. Candidates who make it to the final stage of the application get an automatic resubmission, and it actually paid off for me. That would have been good enough luck for quite a while, but things weren’t over yet.

Romance is, for me, a rare and cool thing. It can be really fun, but I don’t put enough effort into questing for it for it to be commonplace. My last relationship ended in the spring of 2005. It certainly seemed like incredible luck, then, that the same evening I found out about the WOFT packet, I really hit it off with a really fun girl, eminently dateable. There was some irony there–neither one of us saw much point in beginning a romance just as I was about to ship out to Basic–but it was certainly enough for a night. At one point that night, she told me that my heartbeat was hitting the resonant frequency of the house, and that I should modulate it so as not to collapse the structure. (Those were, in fact, the words she used; female nerds get all sorts of awesome points.) My heart was thudding audibly at that point, but I don’t think it was any matter of resonance; it was pure giddiness at the amount of awesome stuff that was happening to me that day.

One week later, I crashed the car I was borrowing while on the interstate. Despite any ice on the highway, the car in the back of a rear-end collision is judged at fault, and that car was mine.

Good luck picked up immediately thereafter. I’ve been going through any number of part-time jobs in the interval from my return from Japan until my ship date, and one of those is being a substitute teacher. It’s been hard, however, to make the budget balance on intermittent temporary work, and it’s been impossible to secure any other kind of work because at no point have I been able to tell an interviewer that I was confident I could be there in six weeks without lying. It was unquestionably good luck, then, that I’ve been able to get two consecutive weeks of steady paying work with more to come.

That luck was tempered by the fact that this weekend, again on the interstate, my motorcycle’s engine seized. A two hour trip turned into a ten hour rescue, most of which I spent standing on the side of the freeway next to my bike in the dark. The shop people told me that it would probably cost more than the value of the bike to repair, and that it wasn’t covered under insurance or warranty. That’s almost three thousand dollars I spent on the motorcycle, for seven months of motorcycling, three of which it spent in the garage for winter. This does not add up to a bargain.

None of this really proves the existence of karma, but it just feels like if one were to graph the state of my luck up to this point, it would look like the output of some sort of heart monitor: a long flat line followed by a series of wild oscillations. I can’t complain too much about it; so far, the good still outweighs the bad, and it’s an interesting ride. Still, it is an odd feeling, that after a life of relative tranquility, I’ve captured the attention of Fate. If karma works as advertised, things will all average out as though the flat line had continued unperturbed; I’ll just have a much more interesting time of things along the way.

And that’s really the bit that threatens my rejection of the supernatural: I’ve always wanted to maximize the number of interesting things that happened in my life, so I want to believe that these luck-swings will continue. There’s an alogical part of my brain which tells me that if I embrace the notion of karma, I can prolong this stuff. So far, logic is holding out with this handy tidbit: the past month happened without any special beliefs on my part, so changing them now shouldn’t affect anything pro or con. The faith center is countering with the notion that God is a drug dealer, hooking me with a few freebie miracles to coax me to give up my soul for a lifetime of them.

Either way, that has been the major theme of my last few weeks. Minor themes focus mostly on the preparation for Basic Training: I’ve begun a daily workout/multivitamin regimen, and I’ve begun memorizing the Soldier’s Manual that they’ll give me upon inprocessing. The internet is a wonderful thing, in terms of letting me get a head start on the tedious memorization which will probably occupy a lot of the time at Basic that I’d rather spend sleeping.

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1 Comment

Comment by para_cynic
2007-04-02 14:05:18

Congratulations.

Basic is just about putting one foot in front of the other and not letting shit get to you. You’re being trained mostly how to follow orders and be a good little pawn on the board. Later on, at filght school, you’ll need to do all the thinky stuff.

I was a Marine, so I don’t specifics about Army basic, but I can’t imagine it’s any harder. I think tehy get more options for milk and cookies before bed (we only had oatmeal) and their footie pajamas are brown instead of green.

 

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