The Sniper and I are out for an evening of leisure in the heart of downtown. With the city a hair away from winking off, we’re standing under the bright fluorescence of the 100th street bus shelter. Few people about and that westerly is biting. Blizzard’s in the mail for tomorrow, we hear. An off-duty security guard saunters in, reeking of rye depths. Approaches us and we sluff him off. Staggers towards the yellow-haired siren on the bench over there and tries to sit down. She pulls out her phone and gets up walking. Throws him a disgusted face. Guard tumbles to his feet, twirls in a circle. His walk deteriorates with each step and he’s on his way to spinning to the pavement. Makes it over to the quiet young couple minding their own business. He passes between them (they’re standing quite close) and bumps the woman on the way. The guy gives him a little what-for. Guard turns around and yells a couple fucks. Makes his hands into guns. Shoots the couple in the guts with sound effects. They ignore his botched assassination. He gives up and doles to the curb with whiskey on full. Staggers out into the middle of 100th. Cars dodge around him and a few honk. Sniper and I are concerned, but do nothing. Guard makes it to the other side with all teeth intact. The 6 hauls its ass into the vicinity. Twenty after eleven. The bastard is late.
Bus Interior, January 2007
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?