Thursday, December 17, 2009

How cold is cold?

Tuesday, the thing was solved. “It was a good day,” Gord said, upbeat. “As if everyone knew exactly what to do – we were a team.” And essentially, the ice set well. On the way home, everyone fell asleep in the car.

That night we went to see Musica Intima, in a show called Noel at the West Vancouver United Church.
Twelve performers with gorgeous voices singing ancient melodies and carols from different locations across the world. Poetry in voice. We closed our eyes in the warm church and let the melodies float over us.

It was absolutely refreshing to sit in the same room as an ephemeral art form and just be with it.

Then yesterday, Gord came back, exhausted, yet on edge. His eyeballs were hurting from the cold. We went out – he seemed driven to get to the store before it closed, resolutely determined to get some goggles for the next day’s work. How many different ways can you say it’s cold? It’s really cold, It’s super cold. Scary cold. How long can you work in minus 28 degrees? With fan-induced wind chill? So we stocked up on goggles – who knows how long it takes an eyeball to freeze?

And, unlike the one-day reprieve on Tuesday, yesterday the ice was brittle. 70 per cent broke when they pried it from the trays.

“On the first day I could be in that space without a hat. Yesterday, it was impossible.”

I consoled the crew that we’re still ahead of the game. For Turin, the other winter Olympics, it wasn’t until January 5th that we had ice. And Gord got reassurances from Scott that they would concentrate the cold at the back of the building, not in the studio. “They’ve been helpful in terms of everything,” he says. “They made a ballet of carrying the plates on those forklifts, with two of those things backing up and moving forward. I had to stop and watch.”

Becky brings Gord a sandwich and they spend the time it takes to eat the sandwich in the warm room before heading back to the cold studio. Jaz took pictures yesterday – they reminded me of the inside of the church at Fenestrelle, before they figured out how to get ice from bubbly water.

This morning, Gord drew the solution he free-associated yesterday: a different way to cut the ice prior to removing it from the tray.

We discussed the benefits of petting the cat for one minute, how the cold studio warehouse is Not a church! And how Sleep Won. Maybe we’ll see Becky tomorrow at the best ever place for coffee on the west coast of Canada.

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