I don’t know where these kids came from, but I wish they’d go back. I’m talkin’ about these kids who are begging for cash in the middle of the Yellowhead / St. Albert Trail intersection. Today it’s a group of four yawners, sub-20 all. Looking carefully deshevelled with a hint of put on cool. Sunglasses. Freshly lit fags hanging from unconcerned bottom lips. Two of these meat popsicles, one standing in each direction of traffic flow, are holding signs that say “Traveling – Need Cash And/Or Food – Hungry”. Traveling. Hungry. Need Cash. Really? Lets see…white? Check. Young? Check. Appearing to be able-bodied; posessing the mental faculty to pen a sign and stand in a good spot for begging? Check. Begging in Canada, arguably the best country in the world (i.e. one of highest standards of living on the planet)? Begging in Alberta, the busiest, most opportunity-laden province in Canada (especially for young white males)? Check. Have I missed something, here? Am I an asshole for thinking that these kids have no fucking excuse for standing in the middle of the highway holding cardboard signs (I wish I had a photo of these meatfucks and their handiwork, but I missed the opportunity)?
Last time I checked, it was a good idea to have a bit of money in hand before setting off on a trip. And if you ran out of money early like Jack, you bust your hump and worked like the rest of us. Now, I’ve spouted off about this before. It’s easy to say to anyone, “Get a fucking job!” I don’t know these kids’ circumstances. They looked fine to me, but who knows. They could all be really messed up for all I know. If they are, then I retract this rant and offer an apology. But if they aren’t, I don’t give a squirt of piss for their indolent asses. They can live off the spoils of their chosen homelessness. All they deserve is a boot in the ass and a middle finger.
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?