Soon The Olympics Leave

It’s Day 12 of the Winter Olympics here in Vancouver. Four will remain. The insanity is everywhere. Here, look at this shot from last Saturday night. Something like 20 blocks of the city looked like that. Needless to say, such a long, wild ride comes with Olympic highs… and Olympic lows. Here’s a look at the latter.


My mind feels like an electrical storm.
So much is going on, I’ve so much power yet so little ability to focus it. Writing is a joke when the world is this insane around you for two-plus weeks. Some can do it, I’m sure. I’m just not one of them.
Working from home was my first mistake. My office job landing smack in my living room, that was a mistake. It’s just changed the vibe ever so slightly.
As a serious writer, the right “vibe” is everything. Mood is god, story is king. Chaos is the destructor.
Chaos? Good god. That’s all we have these days. On the “me” side of things, I want the Olympics to be over. I want my cycling paths back, my train back, and my time to write in the morning.
But, the other side? I know these Olympics are a once-in-a-lifetime deal.
Unfortunately, everyone I know is better able to handle it financially.
I have an entire wardrobe to replace, a scooter to repair, many other obligations, and not a lot of finances to do it with.
Me? $9 beers — EVERYWHERE in the Olympics —  and ridiculous meal prices CRIPPLE my lifestyle, and, for whatever fucking moronic reason, the Olympics are held all during ONE pay period.
So, needless to say, I’m quickly losing my ability to be a part of this experience at all. I spilled a $9 beer on Saturday night, the “extra” beer I shouldn’t have even ordered. Then, poof, it’s gone and I haven’t even had a sip. All of a sudden, I just didn’t even want to be with my friends anymore. Fucking 8pm and I couldn’t afford any more drinks? Yeah, good times.
It’s no fun going out when everything you do reminds you that you just can’t afford THAT.
I live in one of the most expensive cities in the world these days. Never has the division of classes been as real as it is now in Vancouver.
And, me, I’m playing in the wrong fucking sandbox.
The kids I play with can afford this shit.
They take vacations, have the lovely clothes, all that. As far as I can tell, they can’t even fathom the difference between our lifestyles.
I’m not asking for anyone to fix my world. I’m not even asking for anyone to buy me shit. Normally, I don’t care. I avoid the social situations that remind me quite loudly who’s the Have and who’s the Have-Not.
I’m QUITE fine with turning down invites to restaurants I can’t afford — I can COOK. I have a cool apartment! Awesome. I can replicate the experience my way.
The Olympics? I can’t replicate that. I can never even TRY having that again. It’s a ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME experience, living in a city with the Olympics. And I fucking know it.
My lack of funds has me realizing how much less of the Olympics I’ve gotten to experience versus most the people I know. The shit I hear people talking about on Twitter? Damn.
It breaks my heart a little.
I fucking love what’s happened to my city. I’ve ALREADY borrowed money from a friend just to enjoy it. That’s ALL that I can tap into. I’m done, I’m spent, and there’s SO little I’ve gotten to really see or enjoy.
I don’t WANT to go into these “Pavillions” where I see people dropping $15 an hour just to drink beers. Maybe THEY can afford it, but I’m reminded of all I DON’T have when I’m there.
In normal life, like I say, I can avoid these situations — and I’m HAPPY to do so. Why?
Because I know that, whatever it is I lack, the things I do have? I’m content with. Where I live? I’m content with. My goals? I know I’m going to kick ass.
I also don’t feel like I’ll be broke forever.I feel quite the opposite. I feel like I’m going to take the world by storm. But these things don’t happen overnight. There’s a reason there’s so much talk of “five-year plans”.
My finances HAVE changed. They’re better. But I live within my means now, I don’t go into the red.  Those means I’m almost certain will improve considerably in the next year, but I’m catching up from YEARS of being short-changed by injuries that have kept me working under 40 hour weeks just to make sure I’m able to ENJOY living rather than be hurt/fatigued all day, every day.
Most of you probably have no clue what it’s like to have six years of injuries piling on top of each other. I’ve been rehabbing for years. That costs money. I’ve worked less to deal with it, that costs money. Even losing weight has punished me financially.
That’s LIFE. I ACCEPT THAT. I’m not a victim, I’m a player in this game.
I could be better off financially, but I betcha I’d have every one of those 65 lost pounds back on my body. I bet I’d be toying with diabetes. I bet I’d be unhappy.
The choices I’ve made have brought incredible successes into my life. Unfortunately, they’re not successes society gives me money for achieving. So, instead, I’m left feeling broke.
I feel I’ve had to make those choices. Fuck, I’d make them AGAIN.
They do, however, keep me from being able to enjoy the life friends lead. I’ve long since made my peace with that — normally.
Never did I think I’d want to enjoy the Olympics this much, though.
Never did I think I’d see the drastic differences between what I want and what I can’t have as much as I’ve seen it this week.
So, yes. I’m ready for the Olympics to be over.
I’m taking a couple days off of the festivities, and I’ll try to enjoy more on my weekend, before it closes, because I have to. I got to do it.
I suspect the fallout after the Games disappear will leave a terrible emotional hangover on this whole city — I won’t be the only one.
We’ll be crushed it’s gone. We’ll be “broke” collectively. (I chuckle as I write that, because some people’s perception of “broke” slays me. Uh, yeah, I’ll have THAT broke, please. )
And like most relationships that end famously, there’ll be reminders everywhere we look of how glorious and great it was, if only for 16 days.
These games could’ve been worse — by far. I don’t want it to sound like I haven’t enjoyed them. I have! I’m thrilled they came!
I just didn’t expect the fiscal reality check to make it so hard for me to enjoy what I’d like to enjoy, or do what I’d like to do.
It’s not like I’ve just been hurting financially since Christmas. This has been my life since 2003, when I first nearly died in an accident. It’s been a long, long time that I’ve been living This Life of Mine.
It is what it is.
Most of the time I’m grateful. Most of the time I know from whence I’ve come and where I’m running.
But I’ve always loved the Winter Olympics, not the Summer Olympics, and somehow I thought it wouldn’t feel like so much was denied me when they were here.
I was wrong. I’ve never, ever felt the class divide like I have these last two weeks.
Sure, I’m not alone.
And now I’m not silent about it.
Oh, and to all you fucking “media” people in Vancouver who’ve not made it clear how much events/pavillions cost, for those of us who can’t afford to make the wrong choice of where to spend our money — FUCK. Do your job — INFORM us.

6 thoughts on “Soon The Olympics Leave

  1. Kimli

    Come hang out with us. We’ve been ignoring the pavilions and their lines, but still having an amazing time. No $9 beers here – I don’t even drink – but there’s plenty of atmosphere to soak up outside the ridiculous prices and cover charges.
    .-= Kimli´s last blog lobster; boob =-.

  2. Marc

    I can see how that would be the case. I guess I’m fortunate to be one of the “haves”. Even so I too have been pretty suprised at the prices at some places. Some pleasantly suprised and some, like the $9 swill the Germans were pouring, not so pleasantly. I am no grand blogger and certainly not media but I have been to many of the pavillions. I am now going to review each of them tonight complete with food and drink costs and little tips we have learned.

  3. L

    Great post, Steff–you are again right on the ‘money’ 😉 I was looking through a friend’s Facebook photos last night (of her and her lovely West Van parents at the Canada/US hockey game & men’s halfpipe, natch) & feeling pangs of “Gee, would be nice to have loaded parents in town who could treat me…”. I felt guilty afterwards for resenting her this way but honestly: It’d be the only way I could afford to see any events. Given the costs of tickets I never really bothered to try and get any, and when friends admonished me that there actually WERE lots of $50 & $75 seats for events I had to remind them that I already work a 60+ hour week in order to afford to live here. I don’t have the time to sit for hours and hours online to try and get into some ‘ticket lottery’, etc. Same with a lot of the so-called ‘free’ events and concerts these past couple of weeks: They honestly cease being free when you need to spend 6+ hours of time in a lineup to enjoy them. I just can’t spare half a day to stand around, no matter how much I’d like to see Deadmau5 🙁
    Don’t get me wrong, I too have enjoyed these last couple of weeks and the energy they have brought to this city. I’ve been so proud for the world to see this place I call home–and hope that all the gorgeous vistas and cityscapes (‘Vancouver Porn’) will help to explain to folks why it is that I work so damn hard to be able to afford to stay here.
    I agree that these Games have highlighted for me a financial reality I hadn’t really though much about previously. And hey, one thing to bear in mind whenever you start feeling like a ‘have not’: I have noticed recently that my “flush” friends don’t actually make a lot more than me, but rather it would appear that the real trick to being wealthy in Vancouver is to be married or to at least be part of a couple. A $1600 one bedroom is a LOT more affordable when that cost is divided in two, right? I call this ‘paying the Singles tax’ and in a city with a cost of living like Vancouver’s it’s especially dear 😐

  4. Sugarwilla

    I don’t even think it’s a question of the classes, Steph. I was going to come out for an impromtu visit and go to one event, while hanging at my mom’s in North Van. My best friend discouraged me….she told me of the inflated prices at restaurants and the automatic 18% gratuity added onto food. She told me her husband ( who, for business entertaining) had to wait for 2 hours to get into some venue where he had already purchase a $100 ticket to get in and have bottle service. We decided to stay in Calgary and watch the events on TV. The Olympics has always been an elitist event….making it difficult for families and other “normal” people to enjoy it. That’s sad.

  5. Susan

    Yes I’ve got to say it’s kind of deflating to be at home, reading about all these events on Twitter… For me it’s a matter of money and also having enough time to get out. (Since I’m a quasi-single-mom in debt.) All along this “elitism aspect” is one of the major objections I’ve had to hosting the games. It’s not a party for the city, so much as it’s a party for the rich.
    .-= Susan´s last blog ..Updating to Magazine Theme =-.

  6. jean

    I try not to think of such things, Steph, because it’s just too depressing. My first reaction to your post was to say how much my hubby and I have enjoyed our two trips into town without spending a whole lot of money. Being in the thick of the crowd in front of a big screen when the first Canadian Gold was won was unforgetable, and free. Being among hundreds of thousands on Robson for the light show on Saturday night, also unforgetable and free. But it would have been nice to have a drink or meal more interesting than the Orange Julius hot dogs, or share the excitement with friends, but we don’t really have any, everyone we know has a much higher income and standard of living than us. I really thought I would be in a much different place by my mid-fifties, but here I am.

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