The man with the graying hair sits alone and alternates his right hand between his grizzled beard and his swiftly vanishing hair. He repeats the motion again and again and again, and I watch him for the duration of my trip. He could be that way all the time. It could be a comfort. Perhaps he is not comfortable around these people. The bus can be mean without uttering a word. He carries a milk crate full of stuff. Boots, some lunch remnants, and a white smock poke through the plastic beams. From the looks of his heavy, cracked fingers, I surmise that he cannot afford a backpack or suitable gear stowage equipment. He pulls his January bus pass from his coat and places it in his left hand (right hand still going through the hair), looks down upon it like it were a key of silver. The pass is crinkled and pasted beyond recognition. Runs his hands to his head again. Turns around to survey the scene. Just us nighttimers on here. He picks up his device and steams out. After he is gone, I look at my crumpled transfer. It’s the same color as the man’s hair.
Apartment Tower at Night, Saskatchewan Drive, Jan 07
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?