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Thursday, July 07, 2005

What Your Soul Understands

- The Meadowlands used to run a clever ad campaign in which you’d see guys or girls (mostly guys) doing boring going out stuff like restaurants or the opera, or just hanging at home with the spouse and kids, and they’d turn to the camera, sigh and whine “I shoulda gone to the Meadowlands!” Now they have a goofy jingle:

"It's all about being here! It's what your soul understands. It's all about being here! The Meadowlands!"
I actually did a Google search to confirm the exact lyrics, and double checked, because i couldn't believe that "It's what your soul understands" line, and came upon this funny post from Blogoland, check it out. (I straightened him out about the jingle.)

Tonight, I shoulda gone to the Meadowlands. It was a grim day and it would have been a good way to get my mind off things. Since I had my radio alarm set to a news station this morning, the news of the London attacks was literally the first words I heard this day. Despite the fact that London is a long ways away, I felt just about as shaken as if it had happened around the block. Noting that the first blast occured at 8:49, just a few minutes after the time the plane hit the first tower, I made sure to complete my commute to work before then. The subway seemed somber as I rode to work, but it was probably just my imagination. Morning rush hour on the subway from Queens is not generally a festive affair; and it’s more likely that many people hadn’t yet learned of the bombings and were instead contemplating the finale of Beauty and the Geek.

Still, I recalled the days after the 9/11 attacks, and the way we all just walked around in a daze for days, weeks. The more widespread and random nature of the London attacks must make it far more terrifying in the aftermath than it was even here, and I can’t imagine what the people there are going through now, my God. Some people would refer to New Yorkers as “brave” for forging on with our lives but, speaking strictly for myself, there was no bravery whatsoever involved. What else is there to do really but carry on? If I was really brave, I would have just said the hell with this crap, quit my job, uprooted my family and moved to Vermont.

It’s a tough trip to the Meadowlands from here, and it seems much tougher now than it did in younger days, so I have to inspire myself to go. I guess after a while one’s soul doesn’t understand the traffic on the George Washington Bridge. Besides, I don’t really have to go - I get all the Meadowlands races on TV, as well as most, or at least enough of, the simulcast choices.

But in fact I do have to go. It’s almost impossible for me to attain that blinkers on, single-minded focus on each race when I’m at home, even though it’s easier for me to monitor the betting pools with my computer. It’s one thing or another that distracts me or draws me away, and there are days that I literally sit down here at 1 PM with nowhere to go and dozens of races to choose from in the hours ahead, and suddenly it’s 4:30 and I haven’t made a single bet. The phone rings, I blog, I flip the channel for a minute and get stuck somewhere else, I blog, it’s lunch, it’s dinner, I blog, the Head Chef needs a hand at the supermarket....

I need to be at the track. I guess it’s not just the gambling for me - I don’t bet on anything else, and haven’t bet a game of any kind - not even a Super Bowl office pool - since going cold turkey after losing 12 games in a row in 1981 (I actually thought I deserved some kind of reward for that). It IS about being there, for me, anyway. Apparently, a lot of people disagree these days. Tonight would have been a good night to go. As usual, I haven’t gotten around to making any bets - guess what I’m doing instead? So I haven’t really distracted myself from the news. The race meeting at Newmarket, some 60 miles from London, was conducted as usual today. Despite the tragedy nearby, I guess they realize that racing is something that the soul understands, which makes it pretty comforting in a world in which very little else makes much sense at all.