Story of the Month: Karma and Salsa

Story of the month header with quill and ink

Last month Raven shared a tale of karma and how the smug and cocky can get instant cosmic comeuppance for their attitude.  I can testify first-hand how this is true, in similarly dramatic fashion:

My previous job location sits atop a very steep and foreboding hill overlooking a park and a farmers’ market.  There are stairs that can be taken to reach the bottom, but they are on the other side of the hill and it’s often faster to risk the high-grade slope and try the hill.

One day last fall I wanted to go to the farmers’ market in search of an awesome locally made salsa, Captain Rodney’s, which has been hard to find in stores.  My friend Misty decided to accompany me and we headed out.  I said, “Let’s take the hill, it’s not so bad.”  Misty was wearing less-than-optimal hill-climbing shoes and thought the stairs might be better.  I talked her into it and proceeded to go down the hill, providing unnecessarily cocky commentary about how easy it was and comparing her efforts to a “baby horse standing up for the first time.”  I was about 10 inches from the very bottom of the hill and decided that fate was a punk by saying, “See!  It’s eas-” before I hit the last syllable I stepped in a patch of wet grass and ass-over-teakettle, crashed down like a cartoon stepping on a banana peel.  Of course this brought huge roars of laughter from both of us.  I turned to see Misty was sitting down too, but she CHOSE to sit down so as not to fall over.  Laughing at me.

As if I needed more evidence that karma is real, there it was.  Let that be a lesson, it’s ok to be cocky, but never at the expense of someone else!

Misty wrote a great short-story about the event, and thanks to her for letting me share it!  (most of it is pretty accurate…)

 Karma and Salsa

The mission was to find Captain Rodney’s salsa. I accepted without hesitation, even though James’ food choices are often questionable. I figured , eh, you can’t go wrong with salsa. I was happy to tag along. We had but one obstacle in our way: the hill.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Oh, here’s another story with a metaphor about a proverbial hill, with all its symbolism of conquering it and your personal demons, bla bla bla. Forget that. That’s a different story for a different day. This is about a literal hill, and not even a battle of going up it! We had to go down.

When we arrived at Capitol hill, I studied its steep angles. I understand physics. The equation of the angle of my body in comparison to the ground, plus the law of gravity, plus the thin soles of my strappy sandals, plus damp spots in the unfamiliar grass, and the awareness of my own clumsiness, told me that I needed to be cautious. I decided to go slowly, one slick step at a time.

James took a different approach, as he usually does. He decided not to study, and in fact, plowed confidently on as if this massive knoll was a flat, perilous sidewalk. Now being confident is not a bad trait, but sometimes his over cocky attitude gets him in trouble. Head held high, he moved downward.

Of course, strolling down hill was not enough for him. James decided to show off a bit. He periodically turned around to rub in how much faster he was at going down the hill, and that it was sooo easy. This, naturally, was followed by the taunting of me and my careful trek.

If I were to have a metaphoric hill in the story, references would be inserted here. Perhaps conquering my “hill” is supposed to be developing tolerance to such provocation in a take-it-with-a-grain-of-salt manner. Maybe the lesson is to not let others get under your skin or affect your attitude…even if you do look like a baby deer trying to walk for the first time, with wobbly knees and a scared expression. Confucius says that only you can make yourself mad. Or something like that. I actually don’t know what he said. Again, this is not that type of story.

As the journey continued, and my steps were perpetually more vigilant, and his were perpetually more arrogant, I ignored his mean-spirited words while fending back my competitive nature.

Until.

James was in mid taunt, explaining how great he is at going down the hill (and, well, everything in general), when he slipped. In the middle of the word easy, as in “see, it’s ea-“ James fell flat on his ass. Now, I don’t believe in karma, but in that moment as I watched this proud man stumble and fall and felt the tears of laughter pool in my eyes, I believed. Justice tastes sweet. And a bit like grass. I had to sit down, in order to not fall over from laughter. I felt a lot of emotions, but pity was not one of them. He deserved exactly what happened. I don’t think I even asked if he was okay.

The rest of our adventure to the Farmer’s Market was mild in comparison. He brushed himself off, and we laughed our way down the rest of the hill. We bought cupcakes for co-workers from a sweet, tattooed girl. “She’s friendly” I noted with a smile. Eye roll, replied James. We looked at odd pumpkins and people, different shapes, sizes, colors. Some with moles, some as normal as a pumpkin or a person can be. “Look how cute that baby is!” I pointed. “Useless” snarled James. We hunted for a mate for Goldie, James’ yellow and black spider that lived in his driveway, destined to die from frost without ever knowing love (or the spider’s version of it). We made our way back, and surprisingly, up the same hill without incident.

In the end, we didn’t find Captain Rodney’s salsa. Instead, we found moment of humility, karma, and a shit ton of laughter. Maybe that tastes just as good. Or maybe, it tastes just like grass.

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