Thursday, March 11, 2010

Chicago Out in the First Round of OIC Voting

Saturday, October 3, 2009. Copenhagen.

Friday, our last full day in Malmo, Sweden, Mia was warm with fever but kept insisting, whispering really, from her bed that she wanted to go swimming again. We shopped souvenirs at the Lilla Torg square and had lunch at a a tiny modern sushi place. The girls drank miso soup out of paper cups.

Lilla Torg, again.

Mia didn't have the energy to go down the water slide at Aq-va-kul again more than once but Nora laughed and laughed at the bubbles and screamed with laughter riding her buoy elephant. On our way out, I lost my locker key somewhere between the pool and the locker room. A little complicated to get the girls to relay the message out to Randy who is waiting for us in the hall but eventually a nice woman from the front desk brings in a bolt cutter and says "this happens every day." She gives me a new lock and key - another "whatta country!" moment.

Outside we spot a rainbow and the famous twisty tower through a break in the trees across the street. When again, we can't hail a cab and everyone looks limp, I lead the way into a corner coffee shop called Pic Nic. The sweet and pretty woman behind the counter has no bread or rolls left but Mia gets some hot chocolate, Dad a beer, Nora milk with the all important straw and I have chai with a side of steamed milk. We sit in a lovely back room with high ceilings and a view of the green and brick courtyard, carved stone faces on the blue walls of the rear building. I'll think of this pretty space the next day when Jens Ulrick, our new Danish friend, tells us Danish law requires all workers have a view of natural light.

Back at the hotel both girls take heavy naps. While they sleep, news of the first round knockout of Chicago from the 2016 Olympics competition slips quietly into some Facebook/Twitter streams I'm clicking through. Not with a bang but a whimper is how we learn via 140 characters. Shock and disappointment, Monday morning quarterbacking. Randy updates he feels like he got a dead puppy on Christmas and continues drinking with the Fleetwood Mac roadies in the hotel bar.

An inside theory is that first round voting often extends a courtesy "thank you for applying, please try again next time" vote to an underdog and not for the first time, the front runner's votes were over-assumed. We also hear of possible resentment over a U.S. loan to the OIC.

I'm still terribly proud of my dear and his good work. I hate the interwebs. The few troll comments I make the mistake of reading say horrible things about our president.

The next morning a pilot from Florida in the workout rooms asks if he can ask me a personal question which always makes me smile 'cause I'm so tempted to say "no" for a laugh. "Do you think Obama ruined our chances with that ostentatious show and all?"

"How do you mean?" I asked, not giving him an inch, which he should have expected from the hometown I told him two minutes ago. He was talking about the television stations following Air Force One's arrival at CPH airport and the motorcade to the convention center - we'd watched yesterday morning. This blame of Obama was the very thing I feared when he got on board the Chicago bid - still, it's shocking to hear it so soon. I counter the pilot with how I'd read the president made sure via Valerie Jarrett that other heads of state were also appearing and how he cannot control his own media coverage. I also understand pilots, with their usual military backgrounds are in general a conservative lot and this gentleman hailed from red state Florida to boot. We parted friendly.

I had packed the night before because we were to get together with Jens Ulrich, an old friend of Sally and Erik's whom I had met at their place years before. I remember well his bubbly self and was looking forward to seeing him again at home and asking lots of questions about what we'd been experiencing in Scandinavia.

We have rain all day so I'm glad our plans are simple. We'll make our way to the nearby Malmo train station, then cross the channel on the Oresund bridge via the quick and smooth train, retrieve our dirty clothes from the Copenhagen Central Station baggage room and grab a taxi to our new hotel, First Hotel Skt. Petri.

On the train, the girls want me to tell them the story of Frankenstein's monster again. I cobble together a PG version from the parts of the book I read in high school, the 1973 movie Frankenstein: The True Story and James Whale's films. "And when the hand crept across the table by itself, Dr. Frankenstein cried out, 'It's alive! It's alive!'"

Mia listens wide-eyed and chimes in "Read it! Read it!" whenever I pause. She improves my story when Dr. F. sees footprints in the snow leading away from the frozen ship and for the first time decides to follow the monster instead of running away. "He wants to tell him he's sorry!" says my wise child. I concur and take the story in her compassionate direction.

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