Other People's Facebooks.

It's 5AM, and I can't sleep in a hotel room that normally costs WHAT?-hundred dollars, which now costs what?-and-a-half because of the Olympics. So, I go on to Facebook, and some friend of a friend is complaining about the Olympics.

I understand the sentiment. A lot of that money is getting thrown around that could be spent on better things - or, if you like to play the "my taxpayer dollars" game, spent on nothing at all. There are going to be a lot of corporations trying to squeeze Vancouver and its visitors for every dime they can get. There's going to be a lot of stress on the city's basic public services. And it's going to be inescapable.

That's how I felt a month ago. But, like I said in my last post, I think I understand the Olympics a little better now. And like Conan O'Brien said, if you put aside your cynicism and work towards something, you can make something amazing happen. And that's certainly what Vancouver did, while I was content to sit back and tell them it wasn't worth the effort. So I wrote a little essay for my friend (and her friends), and if you don't mind, I'd like to keep it here for posterity's sake.

"I've heard the symphonic sound checks, where tympani and taiko drums echo through the valley, sounding almost like an avalanche detonation, except that their boom rings with joy as well as duty.

I've heard the voices, a chorus of international tongues, astounded by the beauty of Canada, and still amazed at the fact that they're actually here. Vancouver's been a fictional, if not mythical, place for many of them, and just by being here, their dreams are already starting to come true.

I've heard the laughter that sprang forth when the torch came through the streets. Not because there was anything humorous, but because there simply wasn't time to find the words. Next to tears, laughter is the purest expression of emotion. And if tears could sing, I would have heard them, too.

I've heard the trees, the thickened hush as you walk amongst them - they embrace you and protect you, and you can tell they'll do the same for any creature beneath their boughs. In the quiet woods around Whistler, even amidst a party that will capture the entire world's attention, you can still lose yourself in the serenity of nature. That's a lesson that's going to surprise a great many people who come here just for the crowds and spectacles.

Yes, I'm looking forward to these Olympics."

Now, all we need is a chant more clever than "Go Canada Go", and I'll be set.


SarahJanet said...

I refuse to suggest "Eh-Oh-Canada-Go" because I think that's lame. LAME.

Thank you for rescuing my status update. (She's not really a friend, either - why haven't I blocked her? I don't know.) Good sentiment, and beautifully said.

Laina said...

I hear you Denton. I want to tell people to cut the cynicism and appreciate our country for once! We live a great place and the Olympics give other people a chance to see that. In September, my students couldn't point to Canada on a map of the world. They know where it is now, and they want to know a thing or two about it.

Beautiful words my friend.

Sarah said...

Thanks for this essay, it's heartfelt and I think the applications go beyond just the Olympics. Coming from a serial cynic, I think people would do well to set aside cynicism once in a while to do something silly on the surface, but truly beautiful in its ability to bring people together.

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Canadian explorer. Chemist by training, biologist by nature. Long-time supporter and participant in National Novel Writing Month. Known as "Aquadeo" in most Internet circles. Also known as "that guy with the pants" to people who have seen me in certain pants.