New Driver on the Line

February 8, 2007

On the 106, certain things change more often than others. The guy with the white ‘phones and green hoodie? He never changes. A Nalgene hangs off his pack and he’s always clutching a large Tim’s. I could set my watch to that guy’s head bobbing into faint sleep every morning at 7:17am. The business woman with the great shoes? I figure she’s got four work outfits that provide several permutations. On Fridays, she always wears the same dirty flats and the same pair of faded 521’s. The straight-haired girl with the overbite who never says boo? I know the exact temperature at which she dons a toque. Minus 14. Despite all these predictables, this morning holds some change. New driver on the 106 line. The previous driver was a crotchety cuss who didn’t say shit to me for two months. One day last week, out of the blue, he actually threw me a “Mornin’.” It was a big step.

This new steerer seems OK. Young and not yet jaded. Must not have drawn his share of Junior High routes yet. Gives me a cheerful “Good Morning!” in a tone that is downright ungodly at this hour. I throw him a pre-coffee croak, head for the back – standing room only. He’s one of those drivers that wishes everyone a nice day as they exit the rig. Some days that’s cool. Today I’m about a penny-height away from falling asleep while leaning and I don’t care. Stops roll by and more nice days are wished. All the students file out and it’s “have a nice day” all around. I’m off a few stops later, and the guy says his piece. I stop in the doorway for a sec and look at him in the mirror. Minus 20 air rolls in. Some mornings, I can’t brook the nice day shit. Maybe I need it today. Maybe this new guy knows something I don’t. I’m tryin, man, I’m tryin.

Vignette #162

2 reader comments (closed)

1

Handel

I’m always intrigued by your subtle and studious observations. The temperature for toque donning struck me particularly. I wonder what your subjects would think if they knew how closely you observe them?

Feb 08, 2007 • 10:43

2

Gravel

I often wonder that too, Handel. Who knows, maybe I’ve observed YOU at some point…

Feb 09, 2007 • 21:39

Parking lot from the High Level, Jan 07

Parking lot from the High Level, Jan 07

 • 


About

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.

Read the complete story

Recent Vignettes

Podcast Episodes

The City

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?

More about Edmonton