Last night, Dana and I had a hankering (that’s right, I said hankering) for one of our favorite dinners: bread and wine and cheese. (It’s not unhealthy; it’s European!) So off to Whole Food I went. The woman who rang me up didn’t charge me for the cheese. I realized this as soon as I walked away from her register, before I’d left the store. For a second, I thought about just taking off, but then I thought, no. I know she didn’t charge me for it, I’m still in the store. And leaving would feel like stealing.

I’m so freakin’ moral.

When I paid for it, she joked and said she should just give it to me for being honest, but I said that the guilt would eat me up all week. Which is true. If I hadn’t paid for it, I’d be worrying about it for months and every time I go to Whole Foods I’d be paranoid that they security guards would come and check my bags. Besides, I told her, if I don’t pay for it, something bad’s bound to happen to me.

She look at me in a dire sort of way and said, “Yeah. You could come back in your next life and never have any cheese!”

The whole thing was a little silly, of course. And I’m not one to make a big deal out of silly things (ahem, sarcasm). But through the whole exchange I kept thinking about karma and then reincarnation. I was only partly serious when I said I knew something bad would happen to me. I know that if I hadn’t paid for the cheese, the only really terrible thing that would have happened would have been my over-developed sense of guilt would have gotten the better of me. I’m sure Whole Foods wouldn’t go bankrupt over a seven-dollar wedge cheese. But instantly feeling guilting? Really not sure if that’s karma, from a technical point of view. But the checker’s response was really interesting. “In your next life…” I think that is the technical point of view, that our actions have karmic consequences in our next lives.

Weird bit of Buddhist wisdom there from the hipster Whole Foods girl.

At any rate, none of this has any real point. I may make mountains out of molehills sometimes but I don’t feel the need to over-anaylise my cheese-morality moment. More than anything, I think it was just sort of nice to have a little under-stated Buddhist moment in my everyday life that isn’t predicated on being in a classroom or writing something dry and academic or even in a blog or podcast.

So, thanks hipster Whole Foods girl.