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"On Kafka and Karma"

Updated on August 25, 2009

   I had five traffic tickets to take to court in order to make a court date for a trial. I left the house at a quarter to eight thinking I was ahead of the game. By the time I had reached the parking lot of the court house it was about ten minutes to nine (in the morning that is). To my utter surprise the parking lot was nearly full.

    I found a parking spot after doing a few rounds through the lines of parked cars. I then, rushed inside. The line-up where you have to grab a ticket with a number in order to make a court date was long enough that it reached outside of the office and down the corridor.

    I patiently lined-up. Even though I did not expect all those people to be there so early, I was not surprised. The “autocracy” is insane and I know it. After about a half an hour I was able to acquire a ticket. I was also given five sheets of paper to complete (one for each ticket).

    I figured that instead of standing and writing against the wall I would take the papers to be completed to the car and also have a cigarette and the rest of my coffee at the same time. So, off I went.

   It must have taken me about ten minutes at the car, completing the forms and all but by the time I returned inside the office I saw the electronic board showing 714 B. My number was 711 B. I was confused! How could my number have passed so quick – there were so many people there before me?! It usually takes somewhere around an hour for one’s number to come up. I went to one of the ‘slaves’ working behind the two-inch plastic windows.

    “Sorry to bother you,” I said. “I am not quite sure if I just missed my turn . . .”

    “You have to watch the numbers Sir,” responded the lady in a robotic manner.

    “Yes, I know . . . I am watching the numbers but I am not sure if my number just passed or that screen is broken,” I replied somewhat confused.

    “You have to watch the numbers Sir,” came once again the mechanical response.

    “Okay but now what do I do, I am watching the numbers . . .”

    “You have to watch the numbers Sir,” came the same monotone answer.

    At that point I was just ‘blocked’ with nothing to say. It seemed futile to get angry and the plastic divider was too thick to strangle her however hard I would have tried. So I just simply walked away and out of the office. The one thing that came to my mind right there and then was Kafka “The Trial”. That lady slaving at the counter seemed as if she came right out of Kafka’s book.

    On my way back to the car I realized that I had paid parking for almost two hours expecting to be there that long and only about an hour had passed. So I took my parking ticket and walked over to the automatic parking machine where an older Asian man was about to shed some money.

    “Excuse me, sorry to bother you but this ticket I have is still good for almost an hour and I am leaving – take it.”

    The man grabbed the ticket out of my hand a little surprised or confused or both and thanked me as I walked away. I got in my car and I was just happy that at least some good had come out from wasting all that time.

    “I hope he does the same at some point in time,” I thought to myself as I floored it out of the parking lot.

    I returned there several hours later after finishing a few other errands with a book, ready for the wait. As I parked the car and walked over to that automatic parking machine I heard someone say:

    “Hey . . . hey!”

    I looked up to see a girl in her early twenties staring at me.

    “Take this ticket, it still has lots of time on it – I put too much money in,” she said.

    I walked over to her and laughed. I saw her give me a little odd look so I said:

    “I was here earlier and when I was leaving I gave my ticket to someone too . . .”

    She smiled.

    “That karma shit works,” she responded while getting in her car.

    I walked away in an ecstatic mood. I always believed in karma and to see it manifest is truly amazing. As I stepped in the office the line-up was extremely short. I sat down on a chair, glanced over at a girl sitting across from me and read the title of the book she was reading: “The Trial” by Franz Kafka …

    The "robot" lady was no longer behind the thick plastic window and the process of making a date for a trial took no longer than fifteen minutes. Nothing really made sense. Why was it packed first thing in the morning on a weekday and then almost empty closer to the end of the day? Where was the lady that made my morning impossible? Why on such an “impossible” day was that girl reading Kafka right in front of me? Why had I thought of Kafka myself?

    I felt a bit like Jim Carrie in “The Truman Show” – it was all so unreal. I actually looked around? Was I on camera? The “autocracy” within our legal system makes no sense but I was happy to see karma manifest. Sometimes things do not really need to make sense . . . it would all be too boring I guess.


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    • kallini2010 profile image

      kallini2010 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Six months ago I read your hub dedicated to being six months on HubPages. I don't remember its title.

      Now it is my "anniversary" and I started/decided to make a little (huge) effort to mark the occasion. I remembered, however, that the first hub that I read was "On Kafka and Karma" and I came back and what did I find?

      42, 42, 42.

      I am still going to read your hub on philosophy, I will have to take my time. But I hope you will read my hub on "6 months" (it might take about six months to write it) - because I want to dedicate it to my readers, a select few - only seven, including you.

    • kallini2010 profile image

      kallini2010 7 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      I believe you meant bureaucracy, not autocracy.

      An autocracy is a form of government in which one person possesses unlimited power.[1] An autocrat is a person (such as a monarch) ruling with unlimited authority.


      I had the "pleasure" to deal with "robots" and the pleasure dealing with humans all within the same system. Here in Toronto. Or rather systems. Frankly, despite all my negative experiences with Canadian bureaucrats, they are nothing compared to their Russian counterparts. Everything is perceived by comparison.

      The funny thing: I was taking a bus and I had TTC monthly pass. But it was day 342 and I have a thing for number 42, so I asked the driver whether I could have a transfer (worthless piece of paper with the number 342 on it). He refused categorically, because somebody else might have needed it. I am pretty sure that tons of these transfers remain unused and discarded every day. I was upset because it was ridiculous. But you always have to look for an alternative. I was going to the subway and the transfers there are printed on a nicer paper, so I printed five of them! There was no need for the driver to be so anal (I hate the expression, but in this case I stand by my choice!), no need for me being upset. People are people...

    • profile image

      soumyasrajan 7 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

      Nice one Mr. Happy! I liked specially your Karma reward so soon -in this life itself in the same parking lot. What more one may want!

      I used to think this type of robot attitude is only by officials in India. It seems to be reducing in India (just a little we still have a long way to go) but increasing in USA-Canada where in the old days I used to admire that the officials there at least have pleasant behavior.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 8 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      As always I appreciate the comments guys, girls, ladies and gents - thank you for taking the time to read

    • christinecook profile image

      christinecook 8 years ago

      isn't it great when life throws you lemons and it turns into lemonade !! I love this story !

    • bkuzemka profile image

      bkuzemka 8 years ago

      anytime i find myself dealing with parking tickets - the most vicious of man's inventions - i always end up pissed & emotionally drained 'like a dog.' good to see karma saved you here.

      awesome story - peace mr happy

    • lilmom0413 profile image

      lilmom0413 8 years ago from

      What a fun hub.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 8 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      I truly feel honored by the fact that people are actually taking time out of their day to read my story: Thank you! Readership is the best reward for someone who writes (in my opinion anyway).

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 8 years ago from South Africa

      Great Hub and good for a few rueful laughs - don't we all have these sorts of experiences!

      Love and peace


    • infonaturale profile image

      infonaturale 8 years ago from Nigeria

      Nice one

    • Storytellersrus profile image

      Barbara 8 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      Karma at the parking meter... what a great concept. Thanks!