We arrived in Whistler and went to the accreditation center. A young woman who had also traveled on the bus wearing a red “Luge Canada” jacket said her boyfriend is on the team (does that make him a “lugian”?). The coast guard from New York asked if her boyfriend had a big scar across his jaw. No, but she mentioned the name of another Canadian, um, lugian. That’s the guy, said the coast guard; he’d stitched him up at last’s year’s world cup when he came to him with a big flap of skin hanging off his face.
Inside the accreditation center, things seemed impressively orderly, with multi-colored tape on the floor indicating where to go. But supplies were running low… When I tried on a volunteer uniform the pants slid right off. The vest armholes ran half-way down my rib cage. And the jacket? To my knees.
You have no women’s small left at all, I asked? Wait here, said the volunteer. She returned with her manager, a petite black-haired beauty, who looked at me swimming in bright blue fabric and whispered, barely audible, “Follow me.”
After I changed back into clothes I could walk in I followed her to a counter in the next room. On a small post-it note she’d handwritten “Meet me at Accreditation.” She placed the note on the counter and pointed at it with her finger. But what she said, loudly, was, “Well, sorry we don’t have any more welcome packets today, so please come back tomorrow.”
I froze. Why the secrecy? And how could I meet her in “Accreditation”? Wasn’t the whole process “Accreditation”? She silently mouthed, “By the front door.” Got it. Brazenly, I ignored the map of colored tape on the floor and cut back to the reception area.
Soon enough, the dark-haired manager emerged with a blue tote back; in it was a complete volunteer uniform in women’s small. In hushed tones she said that tempers were running high in the uniform area, with one woman insisting that she get a size small. But the manager said she was saving the few smalls she had left for the really small. In equally hushed tones, I thanked her for the bag of precious clothing and hurried out.