I’m sitting on a bench waiting for the 3. It’s a gorgeous winter day out here – the temp floating just below zero, the wind barely noticeable. There is light industry everywhere around me. The union hall across the street. The rad shop behind me. The junker over there on the other corner. The streets are thick with snowgrease and the cars slip and slide their way through the intersections. Across the street to my left is a nondescript parking lot – the kind found on any number of commercial buildings in this sector of town. One of the car plus is rusted and leaning into its rail, one of the lamps in the double-headed light standard is out. A small hatchback approaches from the west. The car is a rust bucket and is being steered erratically – almost dangerously – by its driver. He slops up to the snow-covered lip of the lot and then guns it to get in. He spins out a bit before coming to rest in the middle of the lot. Driver gets out. Car stays running. He does a morning stretch, crucifixion-style. Cracks his knuckles. Gets down in the push-up position, fists on the ground, toes pointed down. He busts out one strained push-up. One. Gets up, brushes himself off, back in the car. Adjusts his hair in the rearview. Shifts into drive. Burns a pathetic, snow-strapped brody out of the lot. Shoots down 118 ave a fitter, happier man.
Bridge Plate, Nov 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?