Meal Gone Wrong?

June 1, 2007

Almost daily I stumble upon a scene that makes me say to myself, what the fuckin’ hell??? The other day I was up with the robins and the workadays on my way to the meat factory. Nothing too out of the ordinary until I hit the bus shelter. Remnants of food strewn everywhere, like someone had just robbed a grocery truck and then had a seizure on the floor of the shelter. Diced peaches slopped against the window. About a hundred toothpicks on the ground. Several different kinds of lunch meat busted out of packages and thrown to the ground. Empty bag of Sun Chips. And a book of burnt matches thrown in for good measure. Was this fucker sandwich-challenged, I asked myself. I imagine the brains on CSI would have a good, well-researched explanation for this scene, but as an astute observer of the human condition as it relates to urban dwelling, here’s my take:

Man walks into Safeway with a half sack in the gulliver. Blasted jeans, new-ish shoe leather and a poly-cotton collar shirt. He’s feeling pretty spry for a Monday night. Spends a good twenty minutes in the produce section trying to pronounce “pomegranate”. Walks by the meat counter. Contemplates a little sidewalk tartar but passes on it. Sways when he picks up a 2 litre Coke. Grabs a couple packs of meat from the Deli counter – one pepperoni, one ham. Stumbles over to the chip aisle. Spends a few minutes teeing up the blonde in the tight blues and yellow t-shirt. Remembers he needs fruit. Balanced diet and all that bollocks. Grabs a four pack of peach cups – in light syrup. Grabs a box of mint flavoured toothpicks. Dental hygiene and all that shit. Slams it all down on the checkout, grabs a Journal and pays cash. Mumbles to the cashier, maybe comments that she looks good in that black and red tunic. Outside, the Sun crashes red into the West End and he wanders to the bus shelter. Sits down and rips it up like there’s no tomorrow. Demolishes the pepperoni first, then the other shit. Starts on the peaches, decides they suck, slams ‘em to the window. Bus creeps in from the east. Can’t eat the rest. Deposits it for tomorrow’s vultures. Gets on the 4 stinking like fatty pepperoni and 5-buck-a-six beer. Home to another half sack and another Thursday “sick day”. Next day, 4 regular Gravel walks up and the detritus tells the story.

Then again, maybe not.

Author’s Note:
This vignette is the 200th entry on StreetRag. My heartfelt thanks to everyone for reading and commenting. I dearly hope that you enjoy what you read here – I dearly love writing for this site. Stay tuned for the StreetRag podcast. It’s launching in October. I hope that it’ll add a new dimension to the site.

May the waves crash high as we laugh from the shore,


Vignette #200

5 reader comments (closed)



Mr. Gravel,

Firstly, well done on making it to 200 entries. I always enjoy what I read here.

Secondly, the pacing and fluidity of language in the second paragraph above is excellent. Fine writing, sir.

Jun 01, 2007 • 08:22


Adam Snider

Brilliantly told, my friend. And congrats on hitting the 200 post mark. Has it already been that long since the dirt puppy went to the dog pound in the sky?

Jun 01, 2007 • 18:48



felicitations from a faithful faraway reader. i feel as if i’ve come to know edmonton a little through your work here, and i like it. (maybe it’s because i live in another slightly grungy city that starts with an e…)

question: what’s “sidewalk tartar”?

Jun 02, 2007 • 05:09



Thanks for the support, Guys.

@ann: Sidewalk Tartar. I imagined this guy grabbing a pound of (raw) ground beef and eating it in the bus shelter. Disgusting to my palette, but hey. Could happen.

Jun 02, 2007 • 18:15



Mikey, this is the best thing I have read all day. (Mind you I have kids so all I ever get to read is “Goodnight Moon” and “Go Dog Go”.)

Very entertaining though. I love walking upon a messed up scene such as the one you described and try to imagine how it came to pass. I like the phrase “Starts on the peaches, decides they suck, slams ‘em to the window. “ I cant help but laugh when I picture this truly happening. Dude must be from Clairview.

Jun 03, 2007 • 20:51

Bus shelter mess, Bonnie Doon, Edmonton, May 2007

Bus shelter mess, Bonnie Doon, Edmonton, May 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.

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