Friday, November 27, 2009

I Can’t Control My Karma

I still have some unresolved issues with my phone/Internet/cell provider and I have to confess I’ve not come clean with them about one serious obstacle: karma.

My work family grew to accept and try to offset the extraordinarily bad luck I had in three different areas of my life:
1. Technology
2. Public Transportation
3. Restaurants

For example, in our offices, the writers and designers used Macs while everyone else had a generic PC. Every 15 months or so there was an uprising from the CFO and IT Director about getting rid of the Macs (largely because the IT department didn’t have anyone to service them). And each time, I led the brigade to denounce their reasoning.

Even so, my little laptop periodically “acted out” in mystifying ways. One time, every e-mail in my inbox (and we’re talkin’ a LOT of e-mails here) disappeared. Didn’t scurry into another folder, didn’t end up on some clipboard somewhere—just went poof! Another time, every file in a folder containing one year’s worth of 8 monthly publications, including revised files, began to open. Frequently, I would have only my Web browser open while researching something and suddenly Word would “hijack” the browser—the window showed the browser, but the menu at the top of the screen was from Word.

I was the only one who had such problems with a Mac. (I was also the only one who could go to a fine-dining establishment and have a bug or a broken piece of steel equipment in my dessert, or be served the wrong order. Other people started ordering for me.)

When my company finally hired an IT person who vowed to help the Mac faction, my boss made it clear to the fellow when he introduced us that I was a special technology challenge.

Of course, the young whippersnapper said something to the effect that karma has nothing to do with anything. He was of the binary generation.

No, no, insisted my boss. It wasn’t just technology; it was anything to do with food and public transportation as well.

Everybody got a good laugh out of it.

Slowly, though, Mr. IT started to understand my tech karma. At first, he thought things were “operator error”—that is to say, my fault. But he came around and warmed to me, trying to find workarounds so I could keep production moving. But he still didn’t buy into the karma explanation.

Then one wintry night, he happened to be waiting for the same bus as I was. We chatted a bit before it came, then went our separate ways once we boarded.

Before the bus inched its way through traffic past the downtown area, it broke down. Everyone was ordered off to wait for another bus. This was at least a weekly occurrence for me. Mr. IT, however, came toward me with his jaw dropped.

“That’s NEVER happened to me before. You DO have bad karma! I didn’t believe it before, but I do now,” he said, keeping his distance as if my karma were contagious. “No offense, but I’m going to get on a different bus now because I have to get somewhere.”

And with that, he walked to another stop for a different route toward his destination.

As for my possible karmic interference with phone/Internet/cell issues at home, maybe there are some things better left unsaid.

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