I see only her at first. It is her walk that grabs my attention. Such confidence in her stride. She’s been here for a while and knows the scene. Long brunette, well worn 501’s, denim jacket a few shades darker, black tire worn flats, nice black blouse (do ‘blouses’ exist any more?), finely weathered face, throwback Clubmaster shades. Elegant. She stops to survey the scene, checks out each direction and undoubtedly sees me watching her. It’s evening and the sun is kind to her. She seems to stop looking around when a certain gentleman comes into focus. Surfer hair, blasted denims, faded blue tee shirt, freshly lit cig in his left claw, tortoise shells around the eyes. He has a relaxed meander that says he could handle anything. If an earthquake opened up the ground around him, he’d just walk around it. He saunters up and gives her a tap on the ass and a bit of a grin. She smiles and returns the gesture, goes in for a peck on the cheek. He exhales a puff of smoke immediately afterwards. They take each other’s hands and move along and she steals a few drags from his smoke. There is an inherent ease in these two. It’s easy to see that they belong together. It’s a relaxed familiarity that seems to exist only in mature couples. Who knows if they’re happy, but I sense they are. No overt signs of affection, no gratuitous groping. Knowing glances and small gestures. They’re a pleasure to watch.
Cars on the high level, January 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?