19. Secret codes or false hopes
The balloons I had noticed flying into the sky a few months earlier, I found out, came from outside a cake shop at a shopping Plaza in Modbury. The corporate colours of this chain of franchised stores happen to be the same as that for traffic lights. Every store flies three gas-filled balloons outside these shops as advertising gag. During my driving lessons I started to take notice of these colours. When I had observed the balloons flying into the sky, they must have torn loose from the advertising board and lifted off.
A car yard on Main North Road started to display just yellow and red balloons. I phoned up to say that they are missing the colour green. “What did the receptionist think of a silly caller like this?” I asked myself? The colours red and yellow almost became an addiction. I looked upon them as affirmation that I was playing on the right team. The more I became aware, the more I noticed these two colours: At a reception centre the room was decorated in yellow and red balloons. I would look twice if people dressed in red and yellow were walking along the road. A child carried a red and yellow balloon on the way to school would turn on my code mode. I was hooked on yellow and red for many months. I was longing for green. When would I get the green light?
As I travelled with my learner drivers from street to street and suburb to suburb, I discovered other kinds of messages I thought were just for me. The constant seesaw between seeing codes, which lifted me up, then thinking I was hopelessly, mentally ill, became very draining. I had repeated the verse in Timothy ... but of a sound mind. One wrong comment and Isobel’s antenna would go up. The threat of renewed institutionalisation made me hold my tongue many times. I was not used to having secrets in front of my wife.
One day I opened my PC and noticed one junk-email. It did not take long to see the coded message. There were four email addresses in the list of recipients. The first one started with driva (me), the second one with goto (go to), the third was my family name Fischer, then galleria (the name of my brother’s workplace in Germany). In my frame of mind I interpreted it as: Driva go to Fischer in Germany.
An article in the Messenger Press newspaper spoke about an in-line hockey team having to leave a sports stadium. The headline “Exit” screamed more than five times across the front page. I prayed: “Lord, are these messages for me? Am I in danger, should I leave, flee, exit? It was this repeat of the message that tormented me. After much agony the voice inside me seemed to answer: “I am giving you directions when and where to go, not newspaper headlines.”
An educational feature was to be printed in the Messenger Press on Driving Schools and Road Safety. I sent in the story of Mrs. G., a humourous, fictitious anecdote about an older person learning to drive. I had written it years ago but never published it publicly except on my website. The headline in the Messenger: “Having a ball”, a story about high school students attending a ball. I related the fun I had in writing the story to the headline. It made sense only to me.
A lady from the Messenger newspaper phoned one day. She tried to sell me advertising space. I agreed to a single column ad for $ 130.-, but said, that I would consider buying a double sided one, if the newspaper agreed to print my story. After all I gave them material to print for nothing. My story never got printed, but the ad still appeared as 1 ½ columns wide and was charged at double rates ($ 250). I was not happy. Only after lengthy arguments to and fro did I agreed to pay the bill. I felt cheated.
Yet I sensed something else in this event. The advertisement not only was the wrong size. The graphics were arranged to point an arrow (a one-way arrow) to my driving school name. My name and logo for Driving Plus Motor School was written to read: Your safety is driving PL US, the emphasis on US. I was reading it as if they are worried about MY safety. I knew that certain people would still like to see me silenced. It all made sense to me.
An huge outdoor advertising sign on Main North Road promoted the newly built suburb of Mawson Lakes. The words caught my attention: Play, it all makes sense. Why did I always think I was personally spoken to? If someone was playing games with me probably had as much fun, despite the pain, as I did.
I felt that I was being watched. By who was not clear, but it may not always be an enemy. In my mind they, whoever they were or represented, were testing my integrity. An incident following shortly after cemented my paranoid sounding theory. We had bought new carpet (red carpet) for three rooms in our house and had paid by credit card. When the bank statement arrived the following month, the money for the carpet had not been deducted. We were at that moment over a thousand dollars richer. It had obviously been omitted by mistake. Isobel and I agreed to query the mistake and pay our bill. I tried to hint to her that perhaps someone is testing us, if we were honest. In times like these Isobel pointed to the cupboard where my tablets were kept.
On 31/5/01 I wrote in my diary: “I am getting many confirming messages that I am not crazy. This time I know it is for real.” My mind at that time was in a constant state of bewilderment. I had no idea what “it” meant. How could I make Isobel believe that something big, supernatural was happening and we were in the centre of it? The same day a letter arrived in the mail. I thought this was my answer: A car yard offered a $ 5000 prize drawn every day. To claim you had to attend personally and check winning number against the one sent to you by post. I thought if Isobel would see that they will (somehow) let me win the money, she would have hard evidence that my stories are true.
I never won 5000 dollars. Yet, as IsobeI and I were shown the latest Model of Toyotas I could not help noticing a few co-incidences: The salesman was a nephew of my friend Geoff; he used a red pen; on the front seat of a car he was showing us lay a jacket. I recognized it as identical to the type used by the MCA, where I had worked for 13 years. Isobel later said she felt embarrassed looking at cars when we had no intention of buying one.
Around this time I was close to getting high (manic) again. Darren Hynch, the journalist who had cut me off talkback radio months earlier was on TV with Joe Gutnick, a wealthy business man. At the same time I heard the name “Fitzgerald”” mentioned. The name is synonymous with an enquiry into police corruption in Queensland years earlier. My fast moving brains somehow linked the names. I did not obey my rule about keeping my mouth shut, but mentioned it to Isobel. Without my knowledge Isobel had rung my psychiatrist in North Adelaide, which I was still seeing every month. Luckily, I had made up my mind to not force any issue, but let it rest. God’s will will be done, of this I was certain. The five letter word TRUST would remain my theme for the turbulent years to come.
In Mid 2001 I heard the spirit inside me speak in a most gentle voice. It led me to contact three people and ask for forgiveness. In my mind I had harboured some resentment towards pastors in Germany, Hobart, Tasmania and in Adelaide. In the past I had often clashed with people in authority. Now I needed to come clean with these three. They all really appreciated the open confession per telephone, email and, in case of the pastor in Adelaide, in person. I felt a great release inside me. There was still one person that I would like to be reconciled to. It was the man who had caused so much hurt while I worked at the MCA. After finding forgiveness with the pastors I knew I had to move towards total pardon with this man.
My awareness of codes and co-incidences became more acute. My friend Ricky was the only person I talked to about some of my theories apart from Isobel. One afternoon Ricky came to our house. We chatted and during the conversation he pulled out a piece of paper with this website: www.kinesiology.a.n.k.e.o.l.m.a.n. I was unsure what he wanted me to do about it. I had never heard of kinesiology. My attention was on the string of strange letters at the end. I saw it straight away that if I placed a “d” in front, it read: dankeolman, which any German would interpret as “thank you old man”.
An entry in my diary Sat 2/6/01: (12 months from the time of my previous hospitalization): Obviously I am thinking funny again. Am I really ill? Why does God let this happen to me? Starting with the cold winter weather in the month of June, many bi-polar people experience an aggravation of their condition. Was I getting ill again? More and more I would hear phrases on TV or radio and somehow associate with it and weave it into this incredible story that was getting weirder every day.
I often stumbled across information and only realized much later, perhaps when writing my diary, that it could have been a code: At Tyndale Christian School the main character at a play was Joel, a young boy that was angry because he had been bullied. A few days later, writing about the play, I reflected on the name Joel. What happened to him and the role he played could be my life. The Messenger Press Newspaper reported at great length about the play. I was rarely free of doubt about it all, as I wrote in my diary on 7/7/01:
“It is all a big mystery to me. I will wake up one day to the real real reality. Am I scared to find out the real truth (that I am ill in the mind) or is it all real? God can even use a mental illness to his glory. Don’t know why all this is happening, but nothing is co-incidental”.
Most mornings I spend about an hour on my knees praying. During these precious hours remarkable thoughts entered my mind. I believe, if I am seriously pleading with the unseen, yet well known God, the God of Israel, HE sits up and takes notice. Not that I have any right to his attention, but his nature is such, that He loves bold, trusting humans. After refilling myself every morning with HIS spirit, I feel saturated in good, wholesome thoughts all day, every day. Life takes on real meaning.
The name Joel kept echoing in my mind. I linked it with “old man”. This code has surfaced on two occasions so far: Ricky’s website on Kinesiology and the name of the journalist I sat with on Sep. 7th at Peter Liddy’s sentencing. In the book of Joel, in the old testament, the bible speaks of old men having dreams. I looked it up and found the scripture in chapter 2, Verse 28. The number leapt off the page – 228 !!
Can letters and numbers tell a story?
The registration number plate on my driving school vehicle is 228!!
Since I am bi-lingual I also read from a German bible translation regularly. Months later, after having discovered Joel 2, 28 and linked it to my Suzuki’s registration number, I sought out Joel 2, 28 in the German bible. It does not exist. Chapter 2 finishes at verse 27. The verse about old men dreaming dreams was moved to Chapter 3, verse 1.
Our only other car is a Mitsubishi Station Wagon. It's plate is VHO 301. What a co-incidence! I remembered back three years when we first bought the car. The purchase itself was a co-incident. The vehicle was advertised in the Advertiser newspaper. I rang the number given and immediately recognized the female voice at the other end of the line. It was a lady that attended our church. She was also a teacher at Tyndale Christian School. Later she told me, she and her husband had been praying: God if it is your will for us to buy a new Magna, let us sell this car quickly. They only advertised the vehicle once, the day I looked in the paper to buy a car just like theirs.
I knew after discovering the co-incident in the number plates that it was God’s will that they sold the car to us. Much later even the selling price of $ 10500 would take on significance. Isobel could not see anything special in such play with numbers or even the co-incident of buying a car from someone you know through the paper in a city of almost a million people.
As the months turned into years I told her less and less about my double life. My mind was truly thinking freely. I loved it. Even if nothing ever came of it, I had a ball dreaming up this huge, strange story in my mind. The only minus was the loneliness. But I knew of ONE that always understood.
1. More in number 2. A sound mind 3. Now I'm found 4. Candle and the Wind
5. Realm of Nature 6. All in his Hand 7. The Wonder of it All 8. To Think God loves