In the mall at 7:40am waiting for the bus. Bus shelter was torn down months ago. Nothing but workadays in here ‘cuz we don’t like to freeze the toucas. Long brunette in the mall mirror playing with her hair. Probably about 25, but she’s still got the knobbly knees and the dirty high school runners. Tons of makeup and dead-straight hair. Leather satchel at her feet, bus schedule poking out. Strokes her mane and straightens her jeans. Brushes something from her pants. She appears to be very serious about all this. Doesn’t take her eyes from herself once. I chuckle to myself as I watch her performance (to not much of an audience). It’s one of those floor-to-ceiling 80’s-era mirrors, the ones that you don’t see anymore. Out of the corner of my eye I spot three boys approaching, likely 13 years her junior. They walk with that disheveled junior-high stagger – boots dragging, jackets dragging, minds on girls and more girls. They pass behind primping girl and their heads turn to take her in. She’s noticed their inexperienced stares, but pays them no mind. After a brief look, two of the boys turn their attentions elsewhere, perhaps to the video games down the mall. The other one still walks, but his head is turned so that his eyes linger on her. He’s got his mouth open when he does this, and it reminds me of every awkward, hackneyed junior-high moment. I watch him in the mirror, the dirty dog. He looks at her just long enough. For a moment almost too brief to perceive, the awkward boy and the sightly woman lock eyes, exchange, and turn away.
More streaks, Dec 06
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?