I’m no big believer in Karma – I don’t buy the notion that some blue multi armed statistician is blasting out equations in a cloud of chalk dust weighing our good deeds versus our missteps in some grand calculation deciding whether we come back as an opera singer or a sea slug.
Nonetheless – I can appreciate a good deed.
I’ve got a ring that I picked up in Bali. I wear it instead of a wedding band. A little silver mediation ring with fish skeletons carved into it. The middle spins – I’d say it’s one of a kind, except it isn’t because I have bought two of them from the same place over a couple years.
I lost the first iteration of this ring in the jungles of Batam – an Indonesian island off the coast of Singapore while on a mountain biking trip with the teachers from Singapore American School. I was careening through the jungle and came in contact with an immovable object in the form of a giant cluster of tree roots in the middle of the single track path. I jettisoned over my handlebars and soared through the air like an ancient Vimana. It wasn’t until I was taking the ferry ride back to civilization that I realized I had lost the ring.
Fortunately we were headed to Bali a couple months later and I was able to replace the lost ring with what I was told was the only other one in existence. (I’m thinking that it most probably was the only other one in existence until I left the store and one may have magically appeared as Sara and I zoomed off on our motorbike – but who’s to say.)
Later on this trip we went snorkeling at White Sandy Beach near Candidasa. Thanks to prior experience I had a healthy respect for the miniscule jellyfish that swarmed in clouds over the coral reefs – well if not a respect for the jellyfish themselves I had developed a reverence for their teeny tiny stinging tentacles. So when I encountered a bloom of these little demons in twenty feet of crystal clear water I thrashed my way out of the vicinity as quickly as I could. One can only wonder what kind of life they had lived to be reincarnated as nearly invisible phylum Cnidaria members.
Once clear of the little bastards I realized I had lost my ring.
I floated back to where I encountered the jellyfish – who had since moved on – and swam around peering through my mask hoping that I might see the ring amidst the coral. Unbelievably, I saw it glistening on the sea bottom some twenty or so feet down. I took a deep breath and started pushing down. I was astounded at the pressure and my head began to pound. I thought one would have to be much deeper to experience this. The mask pressed tighter and tighter against my face and my ears felt like they were being filled with that aerosol expanding foam insulation stuff. Another five feet deeper and I don’t think I could have made it – but luckily I was able to grab the ring and bob back up to the surface.
So – imagine my chagrin when, several months later, I left the thing in a restroom on the Pennsylvania turnpike. Fortuitously I had the Starbucks receipt from the Oakmont Service plaza in my pocket when I finally realized I had lost the ring again when I arrived at my Virginia destination. I e-mailed the PA Turnpike powers that be and informed them that I had left the ring in the restroom and figured that would be that and I would be trying to replace the thing the next time I was in Bali.
Well, the next day I received an e-mail reply. I expected it to be an automatic message saying that the PA Turnpike had received my note along with some non-committal promise of action. But, what I got was a real reply with the direct number to the plaza. I called them and someone had indeed turned my lost ring in!
Subsequently five days later we got off at the Oakmont exit – past home of Pudgie Wudgie, whose story I do not have time to go into, but you would do well to research on your own – and I got my ring back.
It took me a while to track down the manager so I have to assume it took just as long for the individual to turn the ring in to lost and found. I appreciate their effort. Hat’s off to you returner of rings found on toll road rest room sinks - may you be rewarded for your honesty and good deeds. And if I am wrong, and karma does exist – I think we can rest assured your next incarnation will not be that of a stinging jellyfish.