Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Olympics - Accreditation and Uniform Pick-up

So. It looks like I'm in the thick of this volunteering thing. I wrote a long post about the decisions that got me to this point and the crap from Vanoc that I've put up with. But it all doesn't really matter. Here I am and here it comes. I will now embrace the humour.

The funniest thing about volunteering is the other volunteers. Imagine every keener that you've ever met that likes to feel important by telling everybody else about everything that they do. Ya, that guys there. Imagine every failed freestyler/snowboarder/nordic racer/alpinist that compensated for their lack of skill by becoming a coach/instructor/official. Yep, him to. (I guess I might fall into that one) Imagine every old person that just thinks the Olympics are neat. Lots of them. And imagine the overweight girl at work that nobody likes and she talks really loudly and you wonder what she does with her spare time. Well, apparently she's volunteering for the Olympics. It's an impressive bunch.

All of the "training sessions" have flowed into one blurb in my mind, but the Accreditation and Uniform Pick-up last night was just to special to pass up.

So, it starts with driving out to the PNE. Then, you line up outside (10 minutes) where you make your way through a door and a girl checks you off a list. Then, you walk around a corner, line up again (8 minutes) where a group of people check your identification and give you a little card with your name on it. Then, you walk around another corner where you line up again (5 minutes) and you visit one of 10 stations (only 5 of them functioning) where a lady who has probably never used a computer before works a complicated digicam/computer set-up to take your picture. Then you walk around another corner where some people are lined up but others aren't (I was one of the lucky ones) and you pick up your completed accreditation card. Then you walk around another corner to see the largest line of the night and you line up again (15 minutes) so that another group of two ladies that has never worked a computer once again checks your name and gives you a piece of paper on which all of your uniform sizes will be filled out. Then, you walk down a hallway to a waiting room, where you take a number, look sadly at your number '36' and see that they are on '11', look at the roomful of defeated people, and then you wait once again (15 minutes) to be called into the uniform room. Then, they finally call your name and you go try everything on and a lady checks everything off on your list and you walk down another really long hall that is actually a maze set out on the far end of a hockey rink and you line up again (7 minutes) in order to hand your piece of paper to another lady who then grabs all of your clothing items off of a shelf and puts them in a bag for you. Then, you walk through another opening and line up again (2 minutes) where another lady who doesn't know much about computers takes everything out of your bag, scans it, puts it back into your bag and then makes you sign a form. Then you're done. Unless you want to buy 15% off Bay gift certificates which may or may not work in the Olympic Store. Thankfully, I did not, so I was done.

It was all just so surreal that it was funny. And the best part of the night...

While standing in the line waiting to get my piece of paper with all my uniform stuff on it, some guy turned to me and started talking to me. He was about 50. Male pattern baldness. Looked kind of like the guy in the Tire Commercials...the really annoying one? Anyhow this is how it goes:

"Have you heard anything about the Opening Ceremony?"
-"Ahhh...No. Not really."
"Yep. They're pretty tight-lipped about it."
-"I would imagine"
"I've been trying to find out about it. Do a little bit of investigation. Haven't found out anything yet. Say...where are you working?"
-"Up at Cypress."
"Oh ya. Doing what?"
-"Slipping....Course maintenance."
"Oh ya. Ever done that before?"
-"Yep. Quite a bit. I used to ski race, so it's just one of those things that you end up doing a lot of. How about you? Where are you at?"
"Canada hockey place. I'm a blurglepuss (some form of mumbled medical professional)."

He then talked for quite a while about that. I asked him questions as it seemed easier than answering his questions. Then his buddy showed up. Then it was time to get our piece of paper.

So, I walked into the room, took my number, put my headphones in and started texting for my ride. He sees me. Comes over.

"What you doin'? Listening to music?"
-" Not yet. Texting my girlfriend to tell her not to pick me up yet."
"Oh ya. Wanna use my phone?"
-"No....No thankyou. Thanks."
"Ya. I just got this phone. I don't really know how to use it though. I think it has voicemail. Does your phone have voicemail?"
-(at this point I'm talking to him kind of like he's a child. A slow child.)"Yep...most phones do. Say, what kind of phone do you have?"
(He pulls out his iPhone)"One of these guys. Ya...I was down at GM Place and all the other doctors had one. So I went next door to Costco and bought one. Haven't really figured it out yet."
(We spend the next few minutes scrolling through things. He points out text messages that he has received from his daughter. I look in his music folder and he has none. It's all quite amazing.)
-"Ya. You pretty much have a ferrari and you're driving it at 30 km/hr in a school zone. Did you see where the bathroom was?"

I leave and go to the bathroom. When I get back, he says to me in a really low voice "My buddy gave me a bit of an upgrade in my number. Here, you can have mine." So he shows me that he is now number '33' and he gives me his '35'. I thank him and can just not think of anything else to say.

So, if you're watching an Olympic hockey game and feel the old chest pains kicking in, good luck with all that.

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