Karma is a funny lady. Some even say she can be a bitch at times. Sneaking up out of nowhere and smacking you in the face with a lesson in morality. The fools get frustrated and rue their bad luck. The wise pay attention and course correct.
Last week, The Boyfriend and I went out to play for the afternoon. We had lunch at our favorite food truck then wandered around the city looking for great photos and undiscovered treasures. While walking back to the car after lunch, we noticed a couple of cars being towed from their parking spots. We had the typical response of any city dweller: "Man, that sucks." After a brief moment of sympathy for the unsuspecting car owners, we followed it up with giving props to ourselves for paying attention to street signs.
"People just don't know how to follow directions. Just read the signs! Duh."
We got in our own legally parked car and headed off to another neighborhood to find a new view of the skyline. I'd done shoots in the neighborhood before so I had a good idea of streets that might have parking. We found a tiny spot just a few blocks from our destination. The street was packed with cars but The Boyfriend worked his magic and fit us in. Lucky us.
We wandered a bit, marveled at the architecture, then headed off in search of a better view. We stumbled upon the Intercontinental Hotel and headed up to Top of the Mark. The views took my breath away. Fog hid the Golden Gate Bridge but Alcatraz, the Bay Bridge, and the Transamerica Pyramid were all visible against the overcast skies.
As we wandered around the bar to soak in the full 360 views, The Boyfriend spotted our car. It was the only one on the street. Hmm... I immediately became suspicious.
We decided to head back and, on the way, we saw another car being towed. Was no one reading street signs that day?
"Geez! What's going on today? People must be distracted by the Giants game or something. It's not that hard to just read the signs!"
The tow truck pulled away and headed up to the next block, with the parking cop following closely behind. They started to slow down as they approached our car.
"Wait. Babe, I think they're gonna tow the car."
"No way. Why would they tow me?"
"Babe. I think you need to run ahead and get to the car, just in case."
Sure enough, the tow truck pull in front of our car just as we approached the parking cop.
"Is this you?"
After a lot of apologies and "please, please, please," he let us leave on our own, without being towed and without a ticket. We breathed a sigh of relief as we drove away. We thought we were so lucky getting away with that. Oh man, we must have really earned some good parking karma. That was a close one.
At least, that's what I first thought. I was smug enough to believe that I'm such an awesome driver there must be some karmic force working to protect us from the negatives everyone else has to deal with. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized what a horribly self-centered view that was. Maybe instead of rewarding me, karma was teaching me a lesson of my own. I fully admit I was a little judgmental of the owners of those towed cars. I mean, obviously they were dumb and didn't read the signs so they deserved to be towed, right?
Whelp, it's time for me to swallow a big ol' chunk of humble pie because the truth is, we didn't get lucky that day. We got smacked in the face with a lesson about being judgmental a-holes.
Instead of Karma saying, "You're such a smart driver, I'm going to let you off the hook on this one" maybe she was really saying "You're such a judgey beezy I'm going to show you how easy it is to be in that position yourself."
Next time I see someone being towed or getting a ticket, they'll get no judgment from me. Only sympathy. I mean, it can happen to anyone even the most cautious and careful. Lesson learned.
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