Back to the Same

January 4, 2007

I didn’t check the bus skeds before leaving this morning. Didn’t think the ETS would be running on a modified schedule, with the holidays over and all. I arrived at Westmount just in time to see the 123 fire off into the morning without me. Another half hour here. The station is nearly deserted. The skinny-assed school kids, usually a source of humor and pity both, are out for another week. Just us working cruds here, kicking snow with our toes. I spend 20 minutes dreading the coming workday before the bus hauls its sorry ass into the station. Light day on here today – just a few regulars. New guy on the wheel. Enough to make it right. Feels good to be back in the groove after the Christmas punch. All that fellowshipping and familial nobbing are great, but it’s good to be back on the diesel humpers. The industrial park takes on a warm, home-like glow as its lights and utility grudge past my window. These new flyer buses (with the slightly rounded seatbacks) are a sight smoother than the usual haulers. I’d almost say they are relaxing. Someone yanks the cord and is off at the stop before mine. I step down to the platform, nearly ready to return to the Mutton Factory. The driver yells a friendly farewell as I leave. “Rookie,” I think to myself. I throw him a barely perceptible nod and say nothing. Don’t you get it new guy? Don’t say shit to anyone on this route. It’s bad luck. The streets are full of shit and lunch is four hours away. Save it for the downtown sluffs. Daybreak came as I nursed my tea, windows winter dirty.

Vignette #149

Chinatown, Dec 06

Chinatown, Dec 06

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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.

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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?

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