At the club — "Sanafir," it’s called — they have large booths that are like hard padded beds, no tables or chairs, upon which everyone sits around uncomfortably and tries to eat or drink without spilling. It’s supposed to be novel, I guess, but as with all things that try too hard to be different, it instead turns out silly.
Anyway, I’m at the club with Pamela Anderson, which is probably my cue to flee town. To speed my way through Customs, I’m thinking of hiring one of those seaplane pilots to strap me to a wing and drop me over California. Anywhere would be fine — Redding, Eureka, I don’t care. Seriously, just get me over the state line. I’ll walk the rest of the way.
Because somehow, through some wrong turn in life — bad karma, indifferent study habits — I’ve found myself at a club with Pamela Anderson, a woman with more interior plastic than my Honda.
By the way, it’s a lousy, odd coincidence that Anderson was "discovered" at the very same venue where the Olympic closing ceremony will be held Sunday night. Purportedly, she just stood up in a form-fitting T-shirt at a football game, and by chance the camera crew blasted the bombshell’s image on the big screen.
It was a Lana Turner moment, and popular culture would never be the same. Better? Worse? You be the judge. Anderson is a small woman on a very big stage and I think she has conducted herself exceedingly well — especially once she rid herself of all those pesky small-town Canadian values.
In fact, I’m hoping they’ll pause during Sunday’s ceremony to give her some sort of lifetime achievement award — or perhaps that Order of Canada — then ask her to go away forever. "Be our Garbo, darling," they’ll explain. "Now scoot."
My sources (actually, one liquored-up TV exec) told me that Sunday’s ceremony would be more playful and comedic than the opening. It would poke fun at the nation’s quirks. These Canadians seem to be the most self-deprecating people ever, but how this will play out in front of 3 billion viewers is unclear. They might be the sort of jokes you can get away with at a family function, but when a bunch of strangers show up, it all gets kind of weird.
This is a city on the verge of a nervous breakdown anyway. You should’ve seen the streets this weekend. In the last couple of days, it is as if the earth burped up every hockey head in the 10 provinces. They strut across downtown drinking and yelling while wearing Canadian flags as capes — and those are just the grandmothers.
Really, it is as if they’ve opened up all the prisons here, though there is no real danger. Imagine a high school pep rally where all the teachers didn’t show up. That’s what downtown Vancouver is like right now. And when the Canadians talk about "shots this period," you never know whether they mean schnapps or Jager bombs.
Remember that former KGB agent the city assigned to follow me around, just in case? Emily is her name, and Friday night the "tourism office" she works for put on this little going-away shindig at Sanafir, presumably for people they’re happy to see go away. As I mentioned, Pamela Anderson and I both showed up, as well as someone from the website Media Kitty, which dubs itself "The Leading Source of Trippy Journalism."
Me, I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. I swear, in two hours I was gone.
Meanwhile, over at the figure skating hut, they put on some sort of exhibition Saturday evening.
As you’re already aware, you can’t beat figure skating for sheer entertainment. What I like best is when they almost crash into the boards, but not quite. They usually do this backward, for figure skaters are prone to traveling butt-first wherever they go. It’s just safer that way. Plus, then everybody gets a good look at your butt.
That’s the culture of figure skating. It’s not right. It’s not wrong. It’s just figure skating. If you look at things with a tolerant and open mind, the world just opens up to you.
Needless to say I was mesmerized. I fell asleep just once, and that was only for an hour. I finally awoke after having a bad dream about my attempt to collect quotes from the women medalists two nights earlier.
If you want to be humbled, try making sense of something a 16-year-old from Arcadia just mumbled at a million miles an hour.
Fortunately, I have kids.
I’ll be blogging and commenting more soon. Have a good Friday and weekend!