ERNIE AND ERNESTINA: Searching
Book One, Chapter 125: On the Periphery of Madness
It’s six o’clock in the morning, and something has kept me awake all night.
Thinking it was hunger, I ate oranges, guacamole and chips, cookies and chocolate. That didn’t work.
Thinking steamy water would ease me into sleep, I took a hot bath. That didn’t work.
Finally I realize what’s keeping me awake. It’s the thought of going to the track on Oaks Day. This must be it. It’s not bringing on a feeling of excitement, though. It’s more akin to dread.
For years I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the race track. Or, maybe it’s not even love/hate. Maybe it’s fear/fear. What if we lose? What if we lose so much we have to borrow from Visa when we’ve already maxed out Mastercard? Or, what if we win, then lose back our winnings instead of going home with what we’ve won?
The self I am now yearns for calmness and kindness. The race track is neither calm nor kind. It doesn’t care whether I win or lose. It keeps on shooting horses out the gate, and the horses keep running until their jockeys pull them up. The horses keep running even if they snap a leg. It’s a place of pain for horses, jockeys, and bettors.
For years my ego was tied to the track. Wasn’t I smarter than these other bettors? Couldn’t I out-pick them? Couldn’t I pick their pockets? Wasn’t I a winner? Also, the pleaser in me went to the track to please Ernie. He wanted me there. Perhaps he even needed me there. Maybe I’d help him snare an Exacta. That fed my ego, too.
Oh, the track is madness. If I go to the track, I’m choosing to enter its madness. Why did I suggest to Joshua that we go to the track on Oaks Day? Am I mad?