But it's the only one.
I tuck myself into a corner full of partygoers I know, and recappers, and -- best of all -- my most excellent sister, SisterS, who makes the earlier of the two possible flights and shows up earlier than I'm thinking she's going to. I eat chicken nachos and drink beer, and when peacecat comes up and wants to give me a present, I straighten up a little. She gives me a red knit winter hat that says "Miss Alli" across the front. How cute is that? I ask her where she got it, and she said she got it "at the same place she got this," and she points to her yellow baseball cap. Which, unforgivably, I have failed to notice until this moment. Her hat says, "Certified Ox Repair." ["That hat is awesome, not least because it's in the same color scheme as the Tomato Nation 'Saucy.' Shirt, either." -- Sars] I tell her to remind me to have my picture taken with her later, and I also tell her I hope Colin shows up and signs it for her.
Kevin and Drew show up early, with their crew for the Cold Pizza segment they're apparently shooting. They get the crowd's attention and tell us that when we're given the signal, we're supposed to "lose it." Like, with excitement, I guess. At some point, there appears to be some signal given, because a lot of losing it goes on. SisterS and I look at each other and wave our arms in the air. "We're losing it! We're looooosing it!" we say to each other. It all dies down, but then a couple of minutes later, they're back, and it starts up again. SisterS and I look at each other again. "We didn't lose it enough last time," she says. "We have to do it over. And lose it more."
Later, Kevin is kneeling in front of the TV, still during the show, when he looks over at me. He knows SisterS is supposed to be here. He points to her. "Your sister?" he mouths. I nod. He gets her attention. "Mr. Alli," he says, pointing to himself. "I'm the favorite." "Oh, really?" she says skeptically. I lean over to her. "He wishes."
During the show, no one really believes that Chip and Kim are going to win. There are Colin and Christie fans, who are seeking each other out like the members of a disfavored secret society, but most of the people I talk to have a similar outlook: They dread and expect a Colin and Christie victory, and they are hoping for a Brandon and Nicole victory, which looks like the only plausible way to preempt it. While they would love to see a Chip and Kim victory, they know that the fourth-place curse of the Best-Liked Team, even if it is momentarily foiled, will certainly return in time to keep you from crossing the finish line successfully. The Chip and Kim team never wins.
The tense showdown at the wall between Linda and Karen and Colin and Christie at the end of the first hour brings moans of despair, and even after it is clear that Colin is going to beat her, there is a swell of applause for Karen that pushes her up the last few feet. The cheer for Colin and Christie being dumped into the drink is the one bright spot in this otherwise depressing sequence.