On the 123 in the AM after a hellish journey from the U of A. Traffic up the ass and a stall in the right lane. Christ, you’d think the traffic gods took a dump on E-Town this morning. I’m surprised the driver and the rest of the workadays kept their shit together after waiting on Groat Road for damn near thirty minutes. All good now, it seems. 123: Tall blond mid 30’s with pack-and-a-half eyes gets on, yakking on her cell phone. I’ve got the ‘phones on and pumping the Sabbath, YET, I can hear her clearly over Iommi’s crunch. What the fuck, woman? I’m thinking, is it really necessary to have a loud conversation at 7:40am on a Wednesday? Don’t you know that fucking with Sabbath is punishable by death? Since it’s early and I’m not quite in the vein yet, I pause my music to make sure that I’m not experiencing an auditory hallucination. Yep. She’s pulling out all the stops, talking like a fourteen year old having her first sip of Electric Kool Aid. She throws out a good and loud fuck that (complete with hand waving), an obligatory and perfunctory no effen’ way, and then an entirely memorable that slippery bitch (double exclamation)!!. Such excellent phrasing. Doubly so at conspicuous volume. Slippery bitches make the rockin’ world go ‘round, I always say.
Needless to say she turns the head of every guy on the bus. The steel-toed ladies and the textile dames, to their credit, pay her no attention. Her little one ring circus continues for about five minutes before she snaps the phone shut, brushes back her dye job, and crosses her legs. I can’t tell if I’m more annoyed at her ridiculous behavior or the fact that I played right into her little game. She sidetracked me to the point wherein I actually shut off my music and listened to her shit. Hit play. Sabbath sweet Sabbath, take me outta here.
Coliseum Inn, April 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?