Ever since the closing ceremonies concluded the weekend before last, I’ve had an Olympic-shaped hole in my heart. I remember getting really excited about the Olympics as a kid, but these Games were the first that I’ve invested time in watching as an adult, and truth be told, it was a little magical. Everything is so big! And Olympians are so impressive! For the first time, I understand what a simultaneous honor and struggle it is to be an Olympic athlete, to represent your country on a world stage and perform at a consistent level of near-perfection. I would watch the Olympic happenings at Nate’s house with he and his roommates and it was a very communal experience, to sit together and cheer on Gabby Douglas and Misty May-Treanor and Allyson Felix and to all be emotionally invested in their victories together. There was such a latent excitement surrounding the Olympics this year, and it was fun to live in that excitement for a couple weeks.
But what happens when the Olympics are over and the excitement disappears? I came across a series of photos the other day on FlavorWire that attempt to get at that question. The Olympic City, a collaboration between photographer Jon Pack and filmmaker Gary Hustwit, is a photo collection of the ruins of former Olympic host cities. As it turns out, many of the grand Olympic structures built for the Games have faded into obsolescence, and a few have been repurposed for wildly different uses than they were originally intended for. These photos are really beautiful and haunting, and it makes me wonder whether it’s worth it to pour so much money into such a temporary grandiosity if this is the fate that awaits future Olympic sites. It’s an interesting and tricky question to consider.
See more photos from The Olympic City Project here.
As I mentioned earlier this week, I’m presently/temporarily residing with six dudes and a dog, and the most awesome part of that experience has been the dog. The dudes adopted Penny while she was still just a wee pup back in November, about a month after I moved to Amsterdam, and now she’s about eight months old and has grown into a proper awesome dog. In the spirit of full disclosure, I was a little worried about returning to Seattle and meeting Penny for the first time because I’ve never really been a dog person, and I was afraid I wouldn’t love her as much as Nate and all of his housemates did, if at all. But there’s a first time for everything, and Penny is my first true canine love. She’s seriously the best dog ever. She has the sweetest temperament, and she loves to cuddle, and she’s GORGEOUS. She’s like a supermodel dog. And I know I love her because I never feel put out about having to pick up her smelly shits when I take her on walks or to the park. That’s love, you guys.
ANYWAY, getting to know Penny has made me think a lot about what a dog’s life is like, and how awesome it would be to be a dog. Think about it: dogs don’t have to work or pay rent or worry about any of the things that humans have to worry about. They get to lie around the house all day and can count on someone else to make sure they have food to eat and they get free belly rubs all the time. And they get so excited about someone throwing a ball or a stick and just running after it. I wish I got as excited about ANYTHING as Penny gets about playing fetch. That type of earnest and unbridled joy is beautiful.
I feel like I’m also getting to see the world in a new way through Penny’s eyes, almost like seeing the world through the eyes of a kid. I see how she reacts with a mixture of alarm and perplexity to things like cars and bicycles, and these things that are so commonplace to humans start to appear as strange and magical to me as they do to her. She must think our world is so weird, but when I stop to consider it from her perspective, it is pretty weird. She’s amazed by the most simple things, like someone’s watch reflecting light on the ceiling. She’ll stare at the light intently, her head following it as it moves, and then she’ll tentatively move toward it and jump up on the couch to try to get it. She has a real sense of wonder that few humans are able to retain once they reach adulthood, and it’s really endearing and refreshing.
Yeah, dogs have a pretty good life.