the final high 5

the fairytale…

wistful eyes and the heartstrings of many just holding on by a thread… the bad guys scored with 24 seconds left in the game. you could feel the city preparing to hold our heads in quiet shame…

we’re so close to the fairytale, said sean, our faces pressed against the glass of the cafe, a sea of restlessness surrounding every tv screen in vancouver and most expat bars across the globe, no doubt.

lucky us. the young buck scored and you already know this town went off da hook.

i spent the next hour of my shift shooting electric high fives at just about every hand that passed the intersection of hamilton and georgia. faces the colour of our maple leaf, from either paint or barley hops, gigantic flags waved from hockey sticks, streets flooded with red and white and so much chaos and cow bell. at least 200 high fives, two smooth palms, and a slight sunburn later, and all you could do was stand stunned, with a silly smile on your face.

what an incredible moment. it was like canada day on the inner harbour meets halloween meets halftime at that big football tournament… meets vancouver on a sunny spring day when the thing most resembling snow is gently falling cherry blossom petals… and everyone is savouring their national pride as if it were a bucket of ice cubes at wreck beach in the summa’.

if today’s ctv announcers are right, then maybe “this sense of ecstasy and joy will echo for eternity”… and maybe we do love it here. maybe we are a nation united. we’ve been active in setting up protests and action movements, staging flashmob dance sequences, and hosting one hell of a party. who knows, maybe after all the dust has settled, we’ll even be able to think of our national identity as being something other than just north of the states.


waking this morning with a foggy head, i had a sudden panic about being late for handing out buttons at work before i remembered that my extravagant carriage had already turned back to a pumpkin, and i was once again an unemployed student. it was as if waking from a dream.

where last nights streets were packed till dawn with hardly an inch to yourself at major intersections on robson, this afternoon saw the tear down of olympic venues well underway. no more outdoor concert venues, no more faux hardwood floors at sfu’s downtown campus. worst of all, however, is no more art installations on granville between georgia and robson. the beautifully sculpted public art exhibition was half boxed up and the ‘lantern forest’ was coming down limb by limb.

the scrooge-like critiques of two weeks ago concerning the fleetingness of the ‘cultural’ part of the olympiad are now the reality that we expected. our pedestrian and bike-friendly centreville will soon be a part of that fairytale dream, and minus those moments when we actually do have a bucket of ice chilling our drinks at wreck this summer, it’s not hard to imagine our public displays of pride and spirit being boxed up again either.

it’s hard to say what the aftermath of the games shall be, and i’m not trying to probe much further than that anyway… but damn if i don’t wish that Vancouver maintain it’s feisty parisien attitude in respect to voicing public opinion, continue to serve as a city that reflects and respects its culture of musical and visual artisans, and most importantly, keep up the spirit of spontaneity that had so many of us dancing in the street these last two weeks.

muchas ameliorer et la comraderie, amis!


4 thoughts on “the final high 5

  1. Your sentences are all long, but they all make sense and are a pleasure to step-by-step through and tie together. I like your writing style. Cheers.

    Oh, and as a Russian, I didn’t watch any of the hockey games. 🙂

    • dobra otrova! the russians had the best team jackets of any nation out there. its unfortunate they didn’t get to play. but you DID miss out on a killer game (this coming from a non hockey fan)

      thanks for your words! particularly in the form of writing feedback.

      sometimes i wonder what you had for dinner on a given day, gene. it’s a bizarre thought to have roll through my head.

  2. I wonder how all the Para-Olympians feel? All the razzle dazzle for the able bodied and then “box it up” as you say. Loved spending that electric afternoon with you, your words are like liquid silk….

  3. i just tubed the van flash mob on robson and it made me cry a little! a sort of happy, wistful thing….. i find it so uplifting to see flash mob dancing; i think it is one of the greatest things about the past couple of years (when everything else seems so hopeless so often)… the easiest thing about watching the olympics from this end of the country was the end of them. we didn’t experience the downward drop afterward (a lot like christmas when you’re little, hey?)… we enjoyed and got on with it. but that last hockey game… phew! what a blast. we even changed out of our pjs (it was 10pm!!) and walked up to st.catherines street and peel to find the pockets of canadian hockey fans waltzing around with flags–outnumbered 3:1 by the (lovely) montreal police…. interspersed with vermont-ers squeeking U.S.A in between GO-CA-NA-DA’S!

    i think it’s fantastic that you got to take part in this! you seem to have a little magnetism toward olympic…things….maybe there’s a field to look into there. are you planning to be in london in two years? i wouldn’t be shocked if you somehow ended up there 🙂


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