Thursday, January 24, 2002

Last night Rob and I saw the Winter Olympic torch on its run through downtown Seattle.

My original concern was that traffic would be horribly messed up as they were closing roads for the torch runners to weave through. Rob wasn't feeling well, but he's a good guy and could tell I wanted to see this big event. After all, it's the first time the Winter Olympic torch has ever come through Seattle (apparently the Summer Olympic torch has, although I don't remember seeing it).

We got coffee at a shop near 4th avenue and sat discussing the PetaPeople who would be protesting because of how bulls are treated during rodeos (Rob and I have the most interesting discussions). As the time drew nearer for the torch to come by our stretch of the road, we saw a couple of trucks rumble down the street -- Coke trucks! And Coke is a sponsor of the Torch Relay! Rob and I headed outdoors.

Everyone had little flags that said "Coke" (of course) and "I Saw The Flame!" I wanted a flag. Rob noticed a man waving a nice handful at the corner and plucked one from his hands. Turns out he was another spectator and Rob had mugged him. Hehehe! Fortunately, he did have quite a few flags so it's not like we took his last one.

For the next freezing, windy 45 minutes, we stood on the street. The PetaPeople drove by in a truck with video screens showing a rodeo in progress, but if Rob and I hadn't had our conversation earlier, I wouldn't have thought of it as a protest. The Chevy folks drove by in fancy cars as they are also sponsors of the Torch Relay. We were cold and miserable. The police motorcycles drove by and we thought the torch would be right behind them. Folks cheered like mad...and then the cops passed and still no torch. Finally, about an hour after it's scheduled time (Rob said it was late because of the female runners, so I smacked him), we could hear the crowds further down the street cheering and could see the flame. There was a hand-off of the torch on the block right before it reached us. I waved my little stolen flag as the new torchbearer ran past. I have no idea who he was. He waved and held the flame aloft as he continued down the street to a wave of cheers.

And you know, I didn't feel anything. Maybe because it was so cold and my feet were frozen? Maybe because I knew Rob was sick and yet he was standing out there because I had wanted to see this event? It was over so quickly, the crowd quickly dispersed and Rob and I got in our separate cars and drove home where I went to work and Rob made supper for us.

Beside us as we waiting in the wind, a couple of young boys were hooting and hollering excitedly at pretty much any car driving by, jumping up and down and waving their flags. I wish I had felt that way.

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