It has been a year since Preggie moved to the nursing home. And now I’m downsizing, moving into a smaller home.
I should be relieved that I will have less to worry. However, it means I must give away my theological books to a fieldworker. So I packed away my Loci Communes, the Chemnitz treatises, Walther’s Law and Gospel, and other reminders of a life interrupted. What could have been…
I have not opened these books for over 10 years. The memories of 11 years ago ensured that I won’t read them in the future. Tainted. The voice of my professor echoed as I touched them. Out of respect, I kept my Bible and the Book of Concord. Nowadays, I just listen to the Scriptures via the weekly sermons. If I wanted to read, I will download via Kindle.
Eventually, I will read the books of my adulthood. But right now, I have Beyer On Speed.
The past few weeks, I have experienced some kind of apophenia, when you see patterns in random things. If you ever watched the cult classic Repo Man, there was a scene in which Miller and Otto were talking about some unified theory. There Miller explained the Jungian concept of synchronicity in layman’s terms:
A lot of people don’t realize what’s really going on. They view life as a bunch of unconnected incidents and things. They don’t realize that there’s this, like, lattice of coincidence that lays on top of everything. Give you an example, show you what I mean: suppose you’re thinkin’ about a plate of shrimp. Suddenly someone’ll say, like, “plate,” or “shrimp,” or “plate of shrimp” out of the blue, no explanation. No point in lookin’ for one, either. It’s all part of a cosmic unconsciousness.
While I do not follow the spiritual working of Carl Jung, one can learn that people would see connexions in random events. When a woman becomes pregnant, she sees pregnant women everywhere. She is processing her own status as a pregnant woman and is aware of her future as a mother. She then prepares for her new identity.
During the last few weeks, I have seen various instances in which the word “Kentucky” appears out of the blue outside work and home. It has to be a random occurrence; visiting a liquor store and seeing a Jim Beam display does not count. And passing by KFC does not count either. The OTB, reading Blood Horse, my decor, anything of that sort, does not count. The key word is random. Here is an example: I was at the Van Wert County Fair in Ohio, and there were carnival games. One of them involved a mechanical race in one moves the horse via a skee-ball ramp and ball. My coworker’s partner said to me that he challenges me to this game. So I took up the challenge and looked at the horses. There was a sign that read “Kentucky Derby”. Yea, seems legit. But it brought me a chill and felt my hair stand up.
Let’s see: Two Persons of Walmart crossed my path, one wearing a Wildcats hoodie. A contestant for The Voice mentioned he was from Louisville, KY. A news article from the Verge talking about a Samsung Note 7 exploding in That Certain State. The church bulletin had an announcement for a youth trip to the Creation Museum, over There. And today on Facebook, there is a picture of beauty pageant contestants in swimsuits, with sashes. One of them read “Kentucky”.
My coworker suggested that it means we must visit Keeneland next April for the Bluegrass Stakes, plus visit the Coolmore stud farm. That is a great idea– the cure for cowbell is more cowbell. After we visit Gulfstream Park for the Pegasus World Cup. But this pattern pops out.
So today, I took the time why I am seeing a pattern. Why “Kentucky”? There, I must use psychology.
I drew word maps and did free association. From that word I got horses. Stakes. The time I attended the Spiral Stakes at Turfway. My outfit. Fascinator. Elegance. The Derby. American Pharoah. Spend A Buck. My childhood. Churchill Downs. The day I visited Churchill Downs. Now I’m getting somewhere. 9 May. No psychological pain on that day this year. Standing in front of Barbaro’s grave, realising that I have survived the wilderness years. I could have… but I resisted, Deo Gratias.
Liberation. Farewell to my old broken identity as a theology reject. Hello full-time career with benefits.
Weep No More.
There is the crux of this apophenia. It is my mind’s way of telling me that my life has changed and is now unfolding. All this time while seeing these words, I was transitioning to my new identity. Then, I tried to be normal. Now, I am openly Autistic without fear. Then, I hated God. Now, I come to the Sacrament. Then, I loathed my existence. Now, I accept myself.
Those random instances out of static are a mental signpost. I am going somewhere. I hope God goes with me. I will do my best at my job. And I have more things to do, places to visit, horses to be fed mints. Hopefully, I won’t be seeing much random patterns popping up in the future, but my coworker tells me she wants more– bring it on! Dude, you do not want to tempt the universe into giving me overload. I am typing carefully to avoid using the “K word”. I prefer exposure to the Bluegrass State controlled, thank you very much.
Introducing a new category: Degenerate Arts! If you want horse racing themed crafts, this is the place to get inspired! Show how much you are dedicated to the craft by making stuff to wear or show off!
My cheapo pair of canvas shoes I got at Macy’s were coming apart. So I figure: I’ll get some canvas shoes… maybe Converse like that Lucha Libre video or Vans.
Then I remember that there was an art store that sold blank canvas shoes and markers. Maybe I can customise a pair for myself. Maybe I can do a themed shoe so I can wear at work. Pharoah? The Preakness? Too much drawing. Maybe a Tapit-themed design featuring his blacktype progeny. But, my drawing is primitive– the Picts were better artists than I am.
That is when I thought of a quick and not-so-dirty solution: Iron-on transfer paper.
I thought of a simple design. One horse. Songbird. Her pic on one shoe, silks on the other. So I downloaded a few images and I printed them up on opaque dark fabric transfer paper. I thought I was quite successful.
I thought, prior Kentucky Derbies had good prints, so I searched on various sites. And I found great posters. This one did not incorporate the year into the graphic itself. So I got the 2002 edition, and got a nice frame for it.
It’s of a crowd gathered around the jockey and his horse, with Churchill Downs in the background. One lady is holding a mint julep.
Best of all, no misspellings that make me twitch. I double checked that before ordering. Next year, I hope to get a giclee print and put it in the living room.
It was in honor of the 125th stakes. The artist who did that is talented. That poster was quite big, but I managed to fit it on the other side of the bedroom. I looked for recent prints, but it looked like I would have to wait less than 9 years for an 150th stakes edition.
So now my room is properly decorated and tied together. That is the end of the poster typo saga. Less twitching, more sleep.
You’d think Walmart has poster tubes to send posters via mail. Not there. Office De[s]pot was closed and I had to look at Wally World for the tube. Not there, so I had to purchase the tube at the post office. Yesterday, I removed the poster, rolled it, and sent it back with a return form.
Now, my wall is bare. I have enough other types of wall decor in my room, like a crucifix, my diplomas, and wedding pictures. I have framed pictures on the dresser: in college with my spiritual director, a set of Winston Churchill stamps, and my ham radio license. But this room is missing a horse racing picture right on my wall.
What should I place instead? An old Derby poster seemed possible, but I have not watched the past events in over a decade. I wanted a giclee print, but the cost is prohibitive. Work is easy, but bills eat up my wages, as it is the way of living, no? I will have to earn it the hard way: exactas and trifectas.
So, my quest begins. First, it’s bills and food. What’s left over, I save. Then, I will choose a picture. With correct spelling. Stay tuned.
Sometime back after the estate sale, I redecorated the house to make it more my living space. Kept a few things and ordered a few prints for the family room and bedroom. Found this on sale. After all, you never forget the Derby in which you played an active role. I was not a mere spectator watching the telly, but I was a hostess guiding people to a crowded restaurant, bussing tables and getting the word on who would win. This print would look great in my bedroom. I had the Kentucky Oaks print framed near my wine bar along with a Secretariat poster, an American Pharoah print, and a Nyquist print.
This afternoon, I thought to dust and spiffy up when I saw something a bit off.
The C had a bit of a horizontal line, making it look like a G. Compare that with the C in the Kentucky Oaks poster.
I was miffed and then thought to pass it to my work, who may not mind having it in their break room. I showed the poster to one of the waitresses and a VIP patron. He was from Kentucky. I asked: “Guys, what’s wrong with the picture?”
The VIP responded: “The horse does not have any balls.”
“Of course not, it’s supposed to be classy, not vulgar. Read the words.”
“The 142nd Kentucky Derby. So?”
“Look at the C.”
*blinks* We all laughed. I went to the manager and he thought it was awesome to see a typo on official Derby prints. He wanted me to keep it, but I told him that I would twitch and get annoyed every time I walk past that on the wall. “Maybe you could call Churchill Downs and let them know about the G. Maybe get a corrected version.”
So I’m sending it back. And now, my bedroom wall is bare. Too bad, it really tied the room together.
I’m in the Valley to see my younger brother get wed. I am happy to say that the girl he married is lovable and decent. The ceremony was beautiful.
But this whole time I am here, I felt alien. Who wouldn’t? The areas that I grew up changed for the worst. Graffiti on ageing stucco. Strip club advertisements. Heretical storefront churches. Crap traffic. Crappier neighbours who would blare out Mexican oompa music at 2 am in the morning, let their unlicensed packs of dogs roam around the streets filled with dog turds. My brother’s dinky house has a huge gate that he locks every time. Back home, I locked the doors, no gates surrounding each house like a mini penitentiary. As if that was not enough, my mum broke her upper arm and the local hospital screwed up in stabilising her arm and she had to wait for a referral and someone to cast her. In Fort Wayne, the Parkview guys would immediately work on her and she could see a specialist the next 2 or 3 days. When Mum and Father move into Indiana, there will be lawns without sprinklers or yellowing grass. There will be more churches that look like churches. My parents can sleep in silence. Brick and wood siding, no cinder block gated fences. And best of all, fast service. No stupid bureaucracy holding up medical treatment, no two hour waits at the BMV to get a permit or plate renewal.
In-N-Out was why the forces of nature did not make California disappear into the ocean. It was super delicious. The magical flavor of grilled onion, sauce, and melted cheese inspires many top chefs, and is cheaper than most places. It tasted like home; however, it does not erase the strangeness of a different land. Like Chrissie Hynde have sung, our cities are gone. And I must return to the Fort Wayne area where I lived for 15 years. I look forward to returning home.
Saturday afternoon, I told my bosses about being nervous over my picks, especially choosing 13) Creator as my pick. They told me it’s alright and it’s the nature of the game to make incorrect guesses. As long these guesses are informed guesses, it’s no worries.
A lady won a 500 dollar voucher and she must place a win bet. She asked me for advice, and I told her it’s my belief Creator will be the best choice, but ultimately, she must go for her gut feeling. She chose Stradivari. I advised her that she should view her chance as play money, and at least it was not her own actual money.
A group of gentlemen asked me about why I recommended Creator. I gave them a crash course of the Dosage index, a number denoting how pedigree influences a horse’s endurance. They did not know that this was a handy tool for races like the Belmont. (Note that it may not be a sole indicator to guess victors of the Kentucky Derby [i.e. Nyquist has an unfavorable number of 7] but it’s great to gauge classic distances.) I told them that horses like Lani (1.92), Creator (3.00), and Destin (1.43) has good dosage numbers… and alas, Exaggerator does not.
The race went and I was puzzled who was the winner? Destin? Gettysburg, the rabbit? The noise drowned out the announcing. After it was over, I saw the Winstar logo on the winner’s silks and then I saw the number on the saddle towel. WHAT? CREATOR?! I actually guessed THAT correctly?! I was very thrilled and most of all felt that I found my niche in life. An unorthodox niche, but it is MY niche. I quickly apologised to the lady on not being pushy enough to recommend Creator. The guys at the party table gave me high-fives for correctly guessing Creator. The bosses gave me fist bumps and high fives. The bartender who was pushing for Exaggerator smiled and flipped me off. I resumed bussing the tables. After my shift was over, I went to Kroger’s and one of the customers recognised me as the Girl who Guessed Creator. She ate at Voodoo and heard my recommendation.
Seeing my Triple Crown picks bearing much fruit was wonderful. The bosses and co workers noticed it, and even my mum thought it was cool to see me succeed. Deo Volente, I will be able to do this for a living, as soon my bosses give me clearance. I will find out within two weeks.
I’ve bought this bracelet in anticipation of my new path in life. On the bracelet, the engraving reads “Weep No More.” I first saw this phrase just before Derby weekend. A filly who was to run the Kentucky Oaks race was named that, it was a reference to Kentucky’s state song. As the horses processed to the post just before the Derby race, everyone in Churchill Downs would sing this song.
During that time, I was depressed, for it was around the time when the Deaconess programme advised me that due to my disability I must pursue another vocation. Since 2005, I had bouts of melancholia and wondered if I should end my life. I did not doubt the existence of God– for I know the universe is too complex, but my question was: Is God a GOOD god? Or is He the Cosmic Terrorist? Yet I attended the Sacrament, I attended Confession, and found great friends along the way.
When I saw these three words on the Daily Racing Form, it was oddly comforting. As if I was told that now is the time to live again because I have a future. I have a new job, and it was working great. So, I slept and I was all right. And after the Derby, I visited Churchill Downs and visited the Derby Museum. For the first time in years, I felt NO psychological pain on 9 May.
The Preakness was the time I must have got my bosses’ attention, as I got a trifecta and the superfecta right. And as the days went on, “Weep No More” became a beacon of hope and somehow, something will fall into place. They knew I was Autistic and they knew I can do many things well. My workplace accepted me!
Just last week, I found out that if things pan out, I will be working the programmes section and most likely, give wagering and handicapping tips. This involves a HUGE pay raise. At last, I will have a full-time job at a proper wage and benefits. I really hoping this comes into fruition. So, I bought this bracelet with these words. This Belmont Stakes, I was successful with Creator. It was not some fluke, it’s a reasonable guess that went well. God willing, I will see that I will no longer weep for my future, that my life has meaning, and my disability is no longer a liability but an asset. Please pray for me. In the meantime, I will hold on to that hope, that echo of the new earth that weeping will cease and I will see Joy face to face.