Kharma is Weird and Wonderful

There is a Buddhist meditation that helps you pass on your good Kharma to someone else. I forget the name of it, but a few years ago when I first started meditating I did that for a dear friend who was going through a very rough time.

The other night I tried meditating for the first time in a long time. I remembered my passing on my good kharma, and, as things haven’t been so great for me, I tried to pull some of it back.

My friend and I have not spoken in years, but I know from mutual friends commenting on her posts that her life is much better.

The next day, through a series of events I won’t get into, I was two hours late getting home…or getting close to home.

As I was approaching the back road I usually take home (Vivian Line 37 for those familiar), I passed a car buried to its axles in snow. I looked back thinking I should stop to help.

I ended up missing my turn, and quickly pulled onto the shoulder to do a u-turn. A very icy shoulder it turns out and I too ended up mired in snow.

It took two hours before a tow truck came by and hauled me out and sent me on my way.

It was a clear cold night.
I had to pee, and decided to walk some distance from the car. I wasn’t sure where the tow truck operator would have to go, and didn’t want to pollute his workspace.
I sat in the car in silence. My musings interrupted several times by people offering to help.
I thanked all of them, and explained I had a tow coming.

So yes, and interrupted night where I was 4 hours late getting home.

A couple of days ago it occurred to me that the disastrous night occurred immediately after I asked for some of my good kharma back.

I was going to chuckle at the irony, but then things occurred to me.

It was a cold, clear, but beautiful night. I stared at the stars until I started shivering.

I didn’t play with my phone, or the radio. I sat in silence, taking the opportunity that was forced upon me to do some quiet reflection.

7 or 8 people stopped to see if they could help/I was all right. While yes, they interrupted my reflection they restored my faith in humanity. There are decent people out there.

Speaking of decent people both my friends Gord and Denise stood to without hesitation when I called for help. I know that any number of friends would’ve done the same. So I was reminded that even when I’m surrounded by vast cold, dark countryside…I’m not alone.

So it turns out that the inconvenient, time consuming incident wasn’t kharma chastising me, it was a gift.

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Quasi-Inspirational Ravings #2

One day while on a stroll through the park I met an elderly gentleman sitting alone on an out of the way bench,  far from the children, dogs and humans who were enjoying a bright spring afternoon.

I asked his permission to share the bench.

He nodded and I might be wrong but I think he was happy for a bit of company.

We both sat in silence for a spell.  Each of us lost in our own thoughts.

Then, without warning he hit me on my head with his cane.

While I was still dazed he took my wallet, phone and watch before dashing off through the trees.

The moral of this story is that even old people sitting alone in a park can be assholes,  so always keep your guard up!

 

Working in Healthcare vs IT

I turned 51 a couple of weeks back.

I’ve had a few different jobs over those 5 decades.   The majority of the first two were pretty much being a major pain in the rear to my parents and any associated adults.

I think the two careers I’ve had where I’ve been most useful to society was my time as a military medic,  and  the last 16 years or so working in healthcare IT.

 

There are advantages to being a front line clinical worker.  You get to drape a stethoscope around your neck and yell “STAT” at various people.   If you’re dressed in scrubs leaning against a wall looking pale and haggard,  people just assume that you’ve pulled a 36 hour shift and not that you’ve only been at work for 5 minutes,  but are very hung-over.

If you work in IT,  and you look haggard,  people presume  you’ve been at work for 5 minutes, but pulled an all-nighter raiding in World of Warcraft……even if you’ve just pulled a 36 hour stint trying to solve a critical issue.

Don’t even ask what happens if an IT guy dons a stethoscope and starts yelling “STAT!”

But there are some distinct advantages to working in IT instead of healthcare.

In healthcare, if you have a patient that you’re having problems diagnosing,  there’s no way in the world you’d get away with telling your patient this…

Look,  you’re baffling the crap out of me,  so I need you to sit here and wait while I go get a coffee and think about what’s wrong with you.
I might end up googling you,  and/or talking about you with my friends.
It might even come to discussing you and your condition online in forums and chat-rooms…..maybe someone there can help me figure out WTF is wrong with you.

Yeah…trying saying that to a patient….

We’ve all heard stories about surgical mistakes where somebody literally hacked off the wrong leg,  or a case I remember reading about years ago where a teenager went in for brain surgery and ended up with a vasectomy….

In the IT world (if you’re smart),  mistakes of this magnitude are embarrassing,  but not fatal (career or otherwise).   That’s because we can always revert to the last good configuration!

I will admit that I miss my days as a medic.  There’s great satisfaction in seeing someone walk out of your facility who otherwise might not have.

I might have a similar blog in the future as I’m contemplating another career change….I just need to figure out how one goes around becoming part of the Idle Rich.

 

OK Google! You’re really pissing me off now!

A couple of weeks ago I discovered the joy of talking to my phone,  and having it answer me back!

I’ve used the voice to speech function before where you enter by talking instead of typing,  but “OK Google” is completely different.

When you want to talk to your android phone,  “OK Google” is how you put it in command mode.

There are fun things like asking it “How much wood could a woodchuck chuck”,  but I’m more interested in not having to touch my phone when I’m driving.

I’ve gotten into the habit of asking my phone how traffic is during my daily commute.

After the “OK Google”,  you can ask, “How is traffic home,  or to work?”

Last week I was heading to work in Guelph,  and encountered two lanes of bumper to bumper traffic on Victoria Road in Kitchener.

OK Google told me that traffic to work was “light and I should arrive in 22 minutes!”

I called bullshit,  but 21 minutes later I was pulling into the parking lot.

This morning OK Google was sick or something….

After I picked up my morning coffee at the Tim Hortons down the street from where I live,  OK Google told me I had an hour and 5 minutes commute to work.   That’s not bad…

When I hit traffic in Kitchener (around Victoria and Lackner) OK Google told me my commute was still an hour and 5 minutes!!!

I wondered what was backing traffic up,  but then realized that the time was the same as my last query.

So I asked OK Google where I was.

“Here is a map of Stratford Ontario!”,  was the cheery reply.

I told it to turn on navigation and guide me to work.   Glancing down I saw the blue dot was in Kitchener…

So I asked Google again where I was…..again I was told I was in Stratford.

I tried various voice commands to get it to update my location to no avail.

I even pulled over and rebooted the phone and stabbed at some settings.

Nothing worked.

For some reason I just needed to have OK Google tell me how long it was actually going to get to work!

With increasing frustration I yelled different commands at my phone.

Nothing worked.

It insisted that I was in Stratford.

Then it occurred to me to do what I would do if I was talking to a human…

“OK Google!”

phone chirps

“I’m in Guelph!”

Nothing…

“OK Google!”

phone chirps

“Where am I?”

phone: “You are in Gulf Ontario!”  (that’s Google for Guelph)

“OK Google!”

chirp

“How’s traffic to work”

Phone: “Traffic is light and you should arrive in 3 minutes!”

That was really weird that the phone knew where I was, but OK Google didn’t…..

There was the time too when I was showing off “OK Google”….I didn’t mean to put it in command mode,  so I told it “Nevermind!”

It played the Nirvana album….well it tried to…I was on mobile data so I quickly stopped that.

 

RTOD: Other Drivers II

Some more questions I would like to ask, or things I would like to say to other drivers during my daily commute:

 

Seriously,  why did you speed up while I was trying to pass you???  I know you fricking well increased speed because I had my cruise control set!

 

Thank you so much for coming to a complete stop in the travel lane,  and then proceeding very slowly into the vacant left hand turn lane!  Seriously,  thank you!  Oh look,  that light half a block away is red now!  Yay!

 

Where did you learn to apply make up and drive at the same time?  Oh wait…you didn’t….

 

WTF is so interesting over to your left that you have to slow down and look????  Oh hey, now you have lots of time because we missed the light!

 

Wow,  thanks for giving me the opportunity to closely examine the grill of your pick up truck in my rear view mirror.  I know that from your aggressive driving that you are probably a world famous heart surgeon who is the only doctor on the planet capable of saving a small child and therefore really need to go faster,  but there’s only so much one can do when stuck in a line of traffic over a kilometer long!   Oh,  btw,  you can’t see my tail lights…

 

No,  it’s okay….I’m perfectly happy to wait here at a green light while you look at your phone.

 

MIRRORS!!!!  Look in your fricking mirror, or do a fricking shoulder check before making a lane change into what is usually referred to as the FAST LANE!!!!!  AND WHY THE FRICK DID YOU SLOW DOWN????   There isn’t an intersection in sight,  and you change into the fast lane and SLOW DOWN!!!!   Good thing my brakes work….and I was paying attention.

 

I’ve probably done some stupid things too….you can post them here if you’ve seen me do them.  I drive a  [static][garbled]

RTOD: Other Drivers…

Hey, it’s been awhile since I regularly drove any distance,  but since starting to commute over an hour each way there’s a question I keep asking….

Is ‘Keep right, except to pass’  still a thing?

Because I’m thinking it’s more

Drive in whatever lane you want, even if you’re driving slowly,  right beside another driver whose driving just as slowly!’ 

featured image: www.fairalbertaroads.ca