By Editor-in-Chief, Laura Kosann
It was recently – when my life became that book called A Series of Unfortunate Events – that I got to thinking about karma. I like to think that I’m somewhat of a good person: I try to stay aware of other peoples’ feelings and take “treat others the way you’d like to be treated” into consideration on a daily (okay, maybe weekly) basis. I’m a loyal friend and definitely a family person, and – most importantly – I passive aggressively roll my eyes on the subway at those who don’t let people off before they get on. So why did the universe suddenly start to feel like it was swallowing me whole then spitting me back out?
Yes, the problems I’m about to list may seem like serious #whitegirlproblems, but I believe that just like a bank’s monthly interest rate, when a white girl problem starts to compound, it becomes a bigger issue.
Apologies for the TMI that’s about to occur: A few weeks ago, I got an eye infection, just days before Danielle and I were hosting a huge event. The infection resulted in a trip to the eye doctor, where my eyelid was cut open and then had to be soaked three times a day for weeks on end (all the while looking kind of scary at meetings, events and the like).
Once that cleared up, something started biting me. Six huge, mysterious spider-like bites appeared on my arms and whatever it was I was crazy allergic to, so the reactions were of a biblical nature.
I called the exterminator to find the pest in my apartment. He found none… but sprayed anyway.
Mid toxic spray, a pipe broke in the apartment above and water came crashing into my kitchen and bathroom. We had to turn all the electricity off (to not get electrocuted), and couldn’t go back in to clean up the flood for six hours, as there was a toxic spray from the exterminator we weren’t supposed to inhale. AKA lots of water damage.
So to quote Carrie Bradshaw: I couldn’t help but wonder…who did I unknowingly murder in a past life?
When I couldn’t think of anyone – besides my childhood hamster Percy – it was then that I realized I can be an asshole in a lot of small ways: Perhaps that list is compounding too.
Here’s a “for instance”: I watched Trainwreck (for like the 10th time) the other night, and loved the part when Amy Schumer is on the subway, turns to Leslie Jones – a fellow passenger – and asks why the subway stopped. Jones launches into a scientific explanation to which Schumer replies “Really?” To which Jones replies “No not really, I don’t fucking know, do I look like I work for MTA?”
In the moment I thought about how I impatiently ask strangers questions all the time that they – by no means – would or should know the answer to. I chuckled and thought that’s so something I would do, then I realized…that’s so something I would do…I’m an asshole.
Furthermore, when I can, I cut lines. Not recreationally but for the efficiency of it. If I see an opening I’ll totally do it: The chat and cut, the slide-in-when-the-person-behind-you-is-kissing-his-or-her-significant-other…you name it, I’ve mastered it. In turn, I get pissed if someone cuts me in a line. I think, “How could they?” Hypocrite.
I’ll take the Molten Brown products at hotels. Not because I need them, but it’s kind of like never going off a friend’s Netflix account without them knowing. Can you afford the 9 dollars a month? Sure. But like…free stuff.
To make matters worse, I don’t always hold the elevator. I will if someone obviously screams, “Hold the elevator!!” But if they’re not quite in view and the door is closing sometimes I’ll turn my back…Heck, sometimes I’ll do a whole fake lunge thing where it looks like I tried, but I could’ve tried harder…or at all.
And to be brutally honest, just because we’re truth telling, I was sort of happy when Taylor Swift messed up for the first time ever. Awful, right?
When I spent the afternoon making a list of all the ways I’m an asshole – which by the way should really be done with a bottle of wine…or tequila – I thought, why have these compounded things killed my cosmic balance? Whether you support him or not (#WereWithHer), Donald Trump could make a list of little things like this a trillion times the length of mine (and then some) and the guy got the republican nomination. Where’s his bad karma?
That’s when I realized: With great power, comes great responsibility. I like to think my karma isn’t indicating I’m a bad person, I think the universe is holding me to a higher standard because – in general- I’m sort of a good person (despite what Percy might say if he was still with us).
With what’s going on in the world right now, I think it’s important to think about how you can be the best you. Though it sounds like something you may have seen on Seventh Heaven, if you’re generally a good person, you have a responsibility to be an even better one.
So, it’s not a question of why your cosmic balance is off, but rather how you’ll make it better. I’m slowly becoming a bite-free Manhattanite with nary an apartment leak in sight, and I’m convinced it’s because I plan to not ask the fellow civilian next to me in jury duty: “How long does this take?” and I also have held the elevator in my building for people that didn’t even expect me to hold it for that long (actually a few times I felt like an asshole because they had to sprint over from afar).
And when you don’t feel like being as nice as you can possibly be, cut yourself a break, it’s summer in New York City. Who feels wholly and completely balanced right now? If you do, don’t answer that. Misery loves company (even if it’s not great karma to feel that way).