You just do it. Alarm clock at 6:00 shucks you out of that warm bed that tempts you back with her body-warm sheets, drool pillows and dissolving dreams. Sleet wrapped eyes grab a coffee, have a shower, make a lunch, throw on some ginch and a splash of cologne as a reminder and out the door. Walk for a brisk fifteen minutes to the bus station, a walk that is beautiful only in hindsight, only when you remember the seasons, the short sleeves and the parkas both. Wait in the unheated bus shelter for another five, shivering in the steely blue dawny wink, work girls the only light. Rush of bodies off the northbound bus, a few bodies on, the same ones almost always, friends not, colleagues not, everydays yes. Driver throws out a nod as you slam your ticket and he stuffs a transfer in your hand. Sink into one of those classic red vinyl seats with the Jiffy graffiti, Mark + Jocelyn 4 evah…
The scow limps west into the valley with a chug that drowns out your headphone music – rock and roll always in the morning, always the same album for months because overdose is the only way to truly appreciate anything – especially music. Gray skies, diffuse for the fourth day in a row. Nobody says anything on the run, they just sit there and take it. Some days, when certain songs are in the ‘phones and last night’s sleep was just right and the mood is just contemplative enough, you look out the window, to the gray. The gray looks back, throws an indifferent grin on your lap and it might be a shade of beautiful but it’s early and hard to tell. Eight hours at the gravel pit, seven coffees, coworker water barrel slag, 5:00 turn around and back home. Every day. You just do it.
Orange Blur #2
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?