Irascible drivers make the day an interesting one – especially in the morning. • A bus never arrives on time, especially when it really matters. • You can catch the 125 to the seedy bowels of Jasper Place and to the shining beauty of downtown — either way, it’s a great ride. • The best place & time to see the sunset is in May, crossing the high level on the nine. • If the eight northbound has a soul, it must be shaped like a steel toe and smell of junior high unwashed hair. • Those old GMC busses (orange seats) are on the way out – ETS just bought over 100 of the sleek New Flyers to replace them; no word on the trolley busses yet. • If the bus is standing room only except for one seat that is beside a man with an eyepatch, continue standing. • Never sit at the front unless you’re old or somewhat immobile. • Always exit out the back door unless you’re old or somewhat immobile. • I once saw a man kick the side of a bus after it pulled away. The driver stopped and bawled the guy out, then called the police. • I am convinced that route 52 could save someone’s life if given the chance. • Cracking a bucket of KFC and proceeding to eat is not even remotely cool when you’re on the 7. • The busses have big windows for a reason. • The warmest feeling in the world is boarding the 5 after it pulls to a battered downtown curb on a frigid December eve. • Breaking up over the phone is never cool – doubly so when it’s done on the bus. • Just once in your life, take the three northbound outta downtown at about 9:30pm on a Sunday night, stay on until 118 avenue and 149 street. Get off there and walk north to and through the surrounding industrial park. Nowhere will you find a better portrait of abandonment and bewildering human industry (as well as a glimpse at what happens when nobody is around). • If after a long bus ride you decide that you have not seen anything worthwhile, drop me a line. Lets talk. • Driving in this town has become nearly unbearable. • The orange lights of the bus are a comfort.
125 Pulling out of Westmount, 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?