He didn’t notice the cat on the street as he stepped from the light blue lip of his car to the socket black of the 6pm asphalt. The cat squeaked and let claws fly but did not otherwise mind. He grabs his bags of groceries from the wagon back and begins toting them to his apartment. I believe that he lives just above me, perhaps off to the south a bit. His unshaven mug belies a slight disregard for detail. As does his atrocious choice of footwear – black socks with Tevas. He makes several trips back and forth before stopping to look for the cat. Nowhere in sight. I don’t think that it’s his cat, but who knows. Maybe he is disregarding this building’s bylaws and trying to keep the kitty a secret. His secret would be safe with me, if that were the case. Being the good neighbour that I am, I would also not hesitate to use that information against him if needed. He returns from his flat to finish up with his grocery business and slams the hatch down on his rusting station wagon. Thud. The cat comes sauntering out of nowhere and hisses at him from close range. The man looks around, like he’s checking to see if anyone’s looking, and winds up for a kick. The cat dashes off across the busy road, joining two carefree youths who are picking saskatoons at roadside. I see the feline’s tail perpendicular to the ground, rutted orange and peary brown. There is little wind.
Cat crossing the road
StreetRag is an urban weblog and podcast about the city of Edmonton, which is located in the province of Alberta, Canada. It is authored by Edmonton-based writer, web advocate, and poet Michael Gravel and is updated frequently with written urban vignettes, amateurish photographs, deuteronomous audio material, barely coherent musings and rambling ecumenical treatises. StreetRag is a love letter to a lonely prairie burg struggling with its big city ambitions and small-town feel.
The city is Edmonton. It's a subject, not a passion. E-Town is almost universally derided by outsiders as an unlivable tundra wasteland populated by oil-hungry redneck conservatives who despise the arts. All of that is true. But it's not the whole story. There is beauty here. Dusty snowfalls. Brilliant summers. A stunning river valley. A diverse arts community that flourishes. It's a place that inspires a gray relationship - not all good, not all shitty. For that reason alone it is lovable, for what is life but a grayscale?