I Left My Heart in West Virginny
Not really, but I did leave a couple of bucks there. And they weren't even my bucks. Alright, so all I really left was my sobriety. West Virginia, as you might imagine, is a black hole of sobriety.
Sylvie's office planned a group outing to the race tracks, and when she told Steph and I about it and asked if we'd like to come, our immediate responses were something in the neighborhood of, "That is kind of awesome." Free alcohol, free cheap Las Vegas style buffet, free mullet-watching, and we even got some gambling money (A DEUCE, BABY). Er, a twenty. Is that a deuce? Whatever. Let me tell you, I am NOT a gambler. I play enough games of chance with my livelihood, I don't really have any desire to do it for fun
Syl, Steph and I took a seat in the large stadium-seated cafeteria and, firstly, ordered some heinous dirty martinis. You know what's a first for me? Using the salt shaker on my drink. I know. Then we filled up our plates with sick amounts of red meat, mystery salads, and, of course, shrimp. Oh god, the shrimp. You know that Tanqueray commercial where the guy is at the buffet stuffing cocktail shrimp in his mouth and eventually dives his hands in while it makes revolting squishing sounds and you suddenly think you're dying from E. coli just watching it? That's exactly how I've always thought of shrimp. And by the way, the ginormous pile of it was the first thing to run out. Ew. I had a couple of the fried coconut variety, but that was about my limit with the shellfish.
The first race started (with those trumpets and everything!) and we decided to hold our bets and see how this horse race thing worked. Meaning, we couldn't understand the foreign language our guidebook was printed in. After consulting some experts sitting around us (and a text to half my friends asking how long a furlong was, to which Rebecca instantly replied, "Google Calculator: 1 furlong = 201.16800 meters," to which I replied, "I think I love you." Oh, and Quinn? "A foot"? You're dead to me.)...we were able to, you know, put our money on the horseys with pretty names. (Or at least, names that totally spoke to us.)
At first I refused to place the bets, the very thought of setting money on fire making me shudder. They made me go for the third race, so I sigh and walk up to the bookie and then, quite literally, drop my bills on the table, look the bookie in the eye and say with nary a stutter, "Two to win, four to place, eight to show," like I'd done it my entire life. It's all downhill and entire paychecks from here on out people. Since it wasn't our money, we were going to consider the night successful if we came out over zero, and in fact, we left with four bucks and change! Which Syl and Steph immediately blew on the slots downstairs, heh.
We probably would have lost it all if it were not for the crazy horse (number four) who went NUTZO on the warm-up lap, suddenly bucking the jockey off and trampling the barrier to the infield. He actually broke the damn thing so badly they canceled the rest of the races for the night. The jockey, at first, was laying motionless face-down in the dirt, and we all gasped and watched to see him move. A few minutes into that, I suddenly turn to the table and yell, "WE HAD FOUR TO FUCKING WIN MAN!" I am a picture of classiness. But listen! I freaking saw the jockey move, he was totally fine. He was holding up his head talking to people and even lifted his back, it was obvious that it's policy for them to lay there for a minute for safety reasons (the opposite of rodeo clowns, you know?). I'm not a total cad, people! But everyone at Sylvie's work thinks I am. I don't think any of them will be calling me next time they drive their car into a ditch, heh.
So yeah, good times! Oh, and I totally got to pet a Giant Horse. And really, the whole thing was worth it just for this picture.