The Winter Olympics, one of the few sporting events in which I take the slightest interest, kicked off last night in Vancouver with the usual kitschy pageantry—although it was pretty kick-ass to hear k.d. lang sing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”
The Games proper commence today. The Wife is a Winter Games fanatic, & will likely be parked in front of the TV for many hours.
This was not the case in 2002, however—that year, I dragged her up to Salt Lake City to experience the Games live. She had often said that she’d always wanted to go, & I doubted that they’d ever be geographically closer to us. I managed to score tickets for exactly one event: Women’s Freestyle Skiing.
We had been out here in Arizona for more than a decade by that time, so long that we had forgotten how much winter can suck—we had to buy winter coats for the trip. But we remembered it fast as we hiked up the snowy mountain to the venue in Deer Valley, froze our asses off in the bleachers while we watched the lovely Australian Alisa Camplin sail to the Gold Medal...
...& then trudged our way back down to the shuttle buses.
That same day, on the sidewalk in front of the lodge, I saw Mitt Romney dancing to the music of a Dixieland band. This was the most Caucasian sight I ever expect to behold.
That night, back in our hotel in Salt Lake, while The exhausted Wife slept, I wrote this sonnet:
Though she despises snow, and might not wear,
To save her life, a pair of skates or skis,
She pulled a tasseled hat over her hair
And wrapped herself in vinyl and fake fleece.
Then, pluming silver steam out of her smile,
She rode on trains and buses, and her feet,
On shifting snow, that dizzy, final mile,
To take, at last, her own Olympic seat.
And shivering in authenticity,
She took her role as spectator with grace,
Subject, like the skiers, to gravity,
And likewise eager for her downhill race.
Four hours hence, back in her hotel bed,
She'd had it with Olympics--so she said.