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I pulled up and waited patiently for the woman to get into her car.

She’d be pulling out any moment now.

Moments later, the SUV about to turn the corner some 50 feet up the road saw the same thing, and decided he had dibs. Zooming back and signaling as if he’d been there the whole time, he got out and gave me the “that’s my damn spot” wave around. I could’ve stayed and argued. But life’s too short and wherever I ended up parking, I needed the exercise.

So I moved along. And found a new spot even closer to my destination. A block or so later, I strode into Starbucks for my afternoon writing session. The corner table in the sun, the one that’s so hard to get awaited. Hearing the door open behind me, I walked toward my chosen spot, which also just happened to be the last available seat in the joint.

As I opened my pack, I glanced up to see the person who’d come in seconds behind me. It was him. Mr. That’s My Spot. Without a chair in sight.

Some days you’re pigeon, others you’re the statue.

And some days it’s the choices and actions that seem totally unrelated that land you in either spot.

Ahhh, the sweet taste of comeupins.

Update – Yep, I know I chose an “alternative” spelling of comeuppance, just liked it better and the Urban Dictionary says that’s just fine by them. Breath in, breath out, it’ll be okay. Freedom of choice FTW!

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47 responses

47 responses to “Comeupins”

  1. teri says:

    love this, Jonathan! What a great way to handle it, and in not being attached, you ended up in a great place. Love it…let go and the universe provides…

  2. I hate to tell ya this, man, but it’s comeuppance.

    But it tastes sweet no matter how you spell it. πŸ˜‰

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Ha – yeah, I know the mainstream spelling, but liked the “urban” one better, lol.

      Just did a quick update with link to Urban Dictionary that says it’s okay by them. πŸ˜‰

  3. lbelgray says:

    I’m right there with you. How gratifying. And how nice that he saved you the trouble of pooping on his car.

  4. Alexis Neely says:

    Love it JF! I think we are all about to be surprised by a massive comeupins as a result of unconscious choices like the one SUV guy made. The more we can wake up and see the impact of those choices now, the more likely we are to be at the corner table in the sun. Thanks for wrtiting this.

  5. Steve Kaufman says:

    I think that is comeuppance, Johnathan. Maybe I missed a pun.

  6. Jonathan London says:

    It is all about letting go Jonathan. That is what I see as the moral of the story

  7. Marie davis says:

    Yes! As a writer I believe in creative spelling, it’s all part of the creative licesen. Good tip about days that I sometimes don’t understand. Thanks Jonathan!

  8. I’m guessing that “Mr. That’s My Spot” is a sociopath . . . they’re out there!

  9. Great post Jonathan! It’s so eloquently said by Dr. Wayne Dyer – “the way people act is their karma; the way you react is yours”…. way to go Jonathan and being the pigeon that day and flying away from “THE SPOT” not worth the frustration…..

  10. Piper Larson says:

    This post just makes me smile. Really beautiful reminder that it’s all connected.

  11. I’m thinking about that tiny space where you had the choice between reacting and being triggered…and just letting go. The “comeupins” moment was cool… but the really cool moment was that little tiny choice point where you could have held anger, impatience, indignation…whatever…but you DECIDED not to because you knew it was on you. I want to chose more of that in my life.

  12. You do realize that there was another “alternative” spelling in the story…

    “Without a chair in site.”

    site = place
    sight = in view

    I think it was “a freudian slip” in that case. πŸ™‚

    The question I like to ask myself (and my spouse some days) “is it worth it”. Many things are simply not worth the energy to get upset over. Rock on.

    P.S. While I agree with creative license and the value of short hand and acronyms, I wanted to point out that they are not always approrpriate. I’ve been seeing TMI in biz settings that’s detrimental to U folks writing to bizs. It’s percieved as either lack of skill or lack of concern. Both of which a potential employer is unlikely to be interested in.

    J – I mention this here not because I believe your alternative spellings to be inappropriate. Rather, because you do have a large following. I would hate for individuals to take your example as “validation”. It’s all about what is write for the context and audience when you right. (yes, the write/right swap was intentional)

    • Collette says:

      As a word enthusiast and double entendre fan, I love the site/write swaps. Very cool.

      I agree with keeping it to the situation (usually), but sometimes it is the juxtaposition of things that draws attention like nothing else can, a big bright red ink spot in the middle of a crisp white shirt.

  13. Les McKeown says:

    And being the sweet man I know you are, you offered him the table and seat -just to rub it in, right?

    • Fred says:


      That is where I thought the story was going too. But, either way, it was a good story with a good lesson – love thy neighbor.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Lol, I actually thought about it, but figured that’d just be too much, lol

  14. styleosophy says:

    I love it when that happens!!!

  15. Totally agree with you, Jonathan, that comeupins is natural course of the universe and can be satisfying. Agree with Nancy as well, it’s in how you react.

    Being present in the moment and being aware of the energy of others around you keeps life interesting. Rewatched “The Celestine Prophesy” recently… understanding the “energy-suckers” who come in and out of contact every day makes each moment a dance, who will lead and who will follow LOL

    as always, Jonathan, valuable read… Thank You!

  16. Matthew says:

    I just don’t understand what gets into people when they get behind the wheel of a car.

    Thanks for putting it into perspective for us, though!

  17. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that comeuppance might be delayed, but always comes. That’s why I believe in karma. And especially in heaven.

    Yes, universe-appointed revenge is sweet. It’s even sweeter when it’s immediate.

    The best part of your story, for me, was when you found a closer parking space, which led to your snagging the last remaining seat. Out of your willing sacrifice, a better reward than what you would’ve gotten on your own. I try to think like that about the jobs I applied for and didn’t get through the years. I let go. Then the ones I got instead turned out to be higher-paying and more stable. Higher wisdom at work, because I trusted.

    Peace and grace to your day.

  18. Janine Elias says:


    I love your writing you are an excellent story teller!

    I’m a high school drop out with a Masters degree in Psych. I’m also an army bratt and missed 2nd grade because of my family traveling. Needless to say I never learned to spell “properly.”

    For the past 10 years I taught psych at a local city college and it amazed me at how much people are ruffled when you misspell a word. In fact they can completely miss the message due to their attachment to a misspelling. I find that to be sad and even heartbreaking because of the things they are missing in life being more attached to rules and/or judgment. (The more rules a person has the more ways they have to be unhappy)

    I would love to read a post from you about how people respond to misspelling and what they are missing as they change their focus form the message to the semantics of grammar.

    P.S I like comeupins! πŸ˜‰

  19. Anne Wayman says:

    Now, if I can just remember that life does seem to even out before I go cannibalistic πŸ˜‰

    Love comeupins – it got my attention. Besides I’m a highly creative speller. Breathing in and breathing out.

  20. Bridget says:

    I like comeupins because it sounds like “come up into my point of view”.

    I’m hoping that there’s a way to get car design that creates a more soothing environment. I know my worse behavior appears in my car.

  21. Funny how that is SO satisfying. I once needed a jump and was offering my space (in a very busy San Francisco neighborhood) to the first person who would help… One woman said “Oh no, I don’t have time for that.” Not in a nice way I might add, and later after another person had graciously helped I still saw that first woman circling the block. Comeupins feels so good…. Not proud of how happy that made me!!

  22. Anne NImke says:

    Perfect order!

  23. Hi Jonathan,

    I enjoyed your example-oriented story, a pleasing quick “down on the street level” sketch of humanity.

    But, you have to admit, and especially in a place like New York City, there is always a game afoot to find the next great parking space, from which no one is really exempt. Sometimes you just have to shake your head, smile, and keep looking, knowing that your ideal space may be right around the next corner.

    True to form, no “Midnight Cowboy/I’m parkin’ here!” moments from our man, Jonathan! Well played.


  24. Jonathan Fields says:

    So the volume of messages I’ve gotten about my choice of spelling for the title is fascinating to me. It’s actually exactly what I hoped would happen.

    Truth is, there are a few more “hidden” reasons I chose to spell the title the way I did. And I’ll share them in a follow post this week.

    Stay tuned…

    • You clever one, you! πŸ™‚

    • Zack says:

      Loved the story! Perfect example of not taking the karmic bait and an inspiring reminder. Thank-you!

      And on the linguistic fun side of things: if he got his comeupins, then I guess you got your godownouts! πŸ˜‰ Sorry, couldn’t resist! Playing with the language is my number one fave pastime.

      In preparation for that post, I’m thinking you will definitely want to read Skellie’s post Why Great Writing Doesn’t Matter Online about writing on the web and whether spelling, etc. matters or not. There was a marvelous 200 comment+ (if I remember correctly) conversation about it and lots of great points, but alas, that is no longer. Still a great resource for those of us creating hornet’s nests to poke.

      And just in case my link breaks, here’s the raw one:

  25. Janine Elias says:


    How do I show a my photo when I post vs the cute little cartoon that comes up next to my name?

  26. Emily says:

    Perhaps someone had just stolen his spot, or he was dealing with bad dental pain, our he has an enlarged prostate and he had to pee really, really, bad,or his wife just threatened to divorce him, or his kid just sprung on him he had to pick up a birthday present for his friend.

    Or he could’ve just been a jerk.

    A wise man once said.
    If you treat everyone like they have something difficult in thier life, 80% of the time you will be right.

    I’m encouraged that somehow things work out for the guy who can let it go.

    • TomC says:

      I try to do this. Occasionally, if someone cuts me off on the highway, I say to myself: “Maybe he’s driving to the hospital” or something that fits his behavior.

      But more times than I care to admit, before I think about it, I wish harm. I hope that there’s some instant Karma that will get him and bring the world back to harmony. It’s tough to keep life in perspective.

      I think everyone has pain and acts accordingly, but that doesn’t help me turn the other cheek.

      I was parking at a Trader Joe’s the other day in DC after visiting a friend. So I was driving around trying to figure out how people actually got into the store. Turns out you had to park in the garage and take the elevator to the store. Anyway, when I turned to pull into the parking garage I heard someone lay on their horn, like they had just been in an accident, and I saw a lady running towards the car screaming at me to stop. My heart sank, I thought I had run over their pet or worse… So my wife frantically rolled down the window and the screaming lady said, “We’re next! We’re next!” Evidently we we’re cutting in the line.

      At that point I said to myself, I would hate to have the experiences that woman has had. Can you imagine what she must have gone through to elicit that behavior: Getting out of her car and screaming while the person in the car is solidly laying on the horn? Truth is, I was so relieved that I hadn’t run over their child or something that she could have said anything else and I would have welcomed it.

      Anyway, their vehicle was too big for the first spot closest to the elevator but it was the perfect size for our Honda Fit. So her frantic escapade was in vain after all unless she was trying to give me a heart attack. And I felt pretty good parking while they drove around. But the truth is, if I had their experiences and their genetic make up I would respond the same way.

  27. Aretha says:

    I just had a similar experience and it felt oooooooh so good! Indeed life is way too short and you’re right, life will land you exactly where you need to be. I also have to agree that giving him your seat would just have been too much . . . lol!!!

  28. Life is definitely too short for what most people make a big deal of.

  29. Reminds of the time I was keeping some hotshot driver from cutting in to my lane going through a toll gate. He was giving me the finger and fuming. When I got to the gate, with him right behind me, I paid for his ticket. I paused to see his reaction as he swept past me afterwards and his mouth was hanging open – flabbergasted! First time I’ve ever done that and it felt so much better than shouting back at him.

    • Good for you Sandra.

      We’ve all been in similar situations and unless we’re brought up in a different way, the urge to be right (and seek fairness/justice) is so strong.

      Kudos to Jonathan for letting it go and kudos to you for going beyond letting it go.

      I can’t help but feeling that your uptight driver learned more than Jonathan’s uptight parker. Thanks for sharing.

  30. I’m a big believer in what comes around, goes around. I choose not to waste my energy arguing with people or petty stuff and I’m sure I’m healthier for it. I think if it’s that important to them, I can let go and save my energy to fight the bigger battles that are more important to me…It is always sweeter, though when we can see the results of our ‘letting go’ immediately : ).

  31. wilson says:

    Man, this has happened to all of us I think. I just laugh at it. I just go “why are people like this?” how would you feel if I did the same to ya? I guess they don’t think that way.

    “Do not do unto others as you expect they should do unto you”

  32. Dom says:

    So you’re the one who nicked my favourite corner spot in Starbucks!

  33. Lee says:

    I would call that ‘Karma’

  34. […] document.getElementById("ck_email")); On Sunday, I published a post called Comeupins.Within seconds, I started getting emails, DMs on twitter, messages on Facebook and comments saying […]

  35. Collette says:

    Isn’t it ironic that people who are in such a rush to be first, better, faster by way of unfair or unkind means really end up falling behind. It’s beautiful that you actually got to see the back end in action, it reaffirms the internal voice that reminds us there are always other parking places.

    I had a similar situation wherein I had been cut off in the lot at Starbucks by a crazy clueless driver, almost had the front end of the car smashed. I let it go, said to myself, “Steer clear, the hell they must be going thru today isn’t anything I want a part of.” I parked a bit farther down, walked in, ordered my mocha and sat down to work for a bit. The woman walked in about 10 minutes later, frazzled, dropping her purse, jostling multiple bags, clearly out of sorts. After picking up her beverage, she realized there were no open tables. Laptop and briefcase in tow, she must have had plans to work as well. My table was on the larger side, it had been the only one open when I sat down. I had two extra chairs. So, I offered to share. I decided maybe she needed a hand, or a seat as the case was. Kindness is easy and it always feels good to offer. Well, she turned out to be a nightmare, not only did she not say thank you, she commented that individuals should not sit at the larger tables (hello, it was the only one available and I just offered to share). I quickly realized I was done, so I politely wished her a great day and said I needed to get back home.

    I did not really want to work at home that morning, I had hoped for a change of venue. But, upon pulling into my street, FedEx was there with a package that required my signature, one I did not know was coming, but that I was very happy to receive. So, crabby lady ended up making my day brighter in the end.

    Thanks Jonathan for sharing your words. Karma Capitalism changed my views on a lot of things and I will be forever changed because of it.

  36. Priyanka says:

    hey, it’s a fairytale sort of ending πŸ™‚ so cute.