How am I supposed to survive 16 more days exactly?
I didn’t even try for an eventful day.
All I wanted was to arrive in Vancouver a solid day before the craziness began so I could situate myself and establish my bearings. It was to be quite simple, arrive in the city, pick up my media pass and then head to an old friend’s house where I am staying.
I was supposed to meet my friend at about 3 p.m. when she was finished with school but arrived in the city around 1:30 p.m. and needed to kill some time. I punched Robson Square into the GPS system, where the International Media Centre is located and made my way downtown with the hopes of quickly snagging my credentials and then slipping out just as swiftly.
However, taking a vehicle – of which I remind you does not belong to me – into the heart of Olympic brouhaha, was really the first sign that maybe I need to slow my heart rate for the next few weeks and try a little logical thought before I make rash decisions.
I wasn’t in the area 15 full seconds before I realized the chances of parking my car anywhere near Robson Square were roughly equal to that of nailing porridge to a wall.
After finally giving up, I ventured my way down W Georgia Street, took a right turn somewhere and found a spot. I plugged an hour into the meter – which, FYI, is about 19 bucks in this town – so I would have time to make my way back to the media centre I had left so many blocks behind.
The second sign that should have tipped me onto the fact I wasn’t carrying my full arsenal today appeared once I had reached Robson Square. I followed two separate arrows pointing to the media centre, only to find locked doors at the end of my path, with signs saying follow the arrows to the entrance.
It wasn’t until my third pass when I finally noticed the 25-metre-wide staircase leading to not only the entrance of the media centre but also every single other attraction Robson Square has to offer.
In I went.
Of course it’s way too early to claim overkill on the volunteer regiment but three steps after walking through the front door I was met by two women, whose only duty seemed to be to point me toward the media registration booth, which was maybe eight feet away and marked by a large sign that said “Media Registration.”
Immediately after the registration booth was about a dozen security members manning a metal detector and awaiting the chance to search aspiring entrants. We’ve all seen this scene in some fashion or another in the past and I’m certainly not complaining, but I must say when it’s the first day of the Olympics, thoroughness becomes quite the virtue.
After I had made my way past the front-door customs I figured I would stroll around and check out the facility. I had barely finished lurking my way through one room when I overheard someone say Team Canada was having a press conference momentarily.
I instantly imagined a table with Steve Yzerman, Mike Babcock and the rest of Hockey Canada’s brass discussing the importance of hockey gold and felt overwhelmed with rush. I had no camera or voice recorder and a massive presser was beginning “momentarily.”
I bolted out of the media centre and sprinted all 10 blocks to my car, grabbed my equipment, plugged some more coins into the meter and sprinted back. OK, I walked that second leg due to being 32 and out of shape but it didn’t matter because I made it back to the press theatre by about 2:40 p.m. and quickly discovered “momentarily” actually meant 3 p.m. or a little after anyway.
I was just coming to terms with my unnecessary sweat buildup when I then began to wonder about the circumstances of the entire conference. How exactly was Team Canada supposed to hold a press conference when there are still two full days of NHL action before the break?
That’s when I realized the press conference was actually members of the Canadian Olympic Committee and not regarding hockey in anyway. This is when I should have left the building and gone to my friend’s place.
But I figured I should catch some of the conference seeing as I had run myself near dead just to be there, and decided to stick around. The conference was actually quite interesting and when it was over I was feeling pretty good about being there.
I grabbed Joe Juneau, a 13-year NHL veteran and Assistant Chef du Mission, and spoke briefly about the athletes’ perspective at an Olympics and then made my way back to the street.
I was in no hurry anymore so I took my time. After a nice stroll I reached my street, turned the corner, looked up and noticed something was missing.
That something was my roommate’s Pontiac Vibe.
As it turns out, in all of my self-made, completely unnecessary rush, I missed the important little sign that said “No Parking from 3-6 p.m.”
It was 4:06.
I thought about omitting this portion to save a little face regarding my stupidity Thursday but it is important people understand the kind of person they are reading about here.
Besides, my roommate is finding this out as she reads this and that is at least moderately entertaining when you think about it…
Anyway, I phoned the number on the meter and located the impound holding the car and then received a wonderful little tour of the city as I walked for about forty minutes to Granville and Pacific where it was patiently waiting.
I don’t know what was more relieving at the end of this day, the fact my mistakes only cost me $62.90 and sore feet, the fact my trip isn’t ruined due to the loss of the transportation and everything I own or the fact I had to wait in line behind about 25 other nimrods at the impound lot, who are also apparently way too excited for their own good…