When summer frys your ass in five gallons of hogfat, like she will this weekend, you will inevitably end up talking to someone who will pull out their “hottest ever” story. This story will come unasked and will be unwelcome. It will start with the phrase, “You think this is hot? This is nothing! When I was in…” You may react violently to this story because you haven’t been able to sleep for the past four days and you are a dime-height away from considering homicide. This person will have been in Egypt or Death Valley or Greece and will attest to the truly face-melting temperatures present in those locales and, through their unique and worldly perspective, to the lack of true mercury-busting hotness in the city of cham-peens. So. Getting on with it. My “hottest, most ass-blastingly crazy hottest shit ever” story takes place in Greece. On the island of Samos, My Brother and I climbed halfway up a rather large mountain in order to get a look at one of the few intact ancient aqueducts left in the world (which was extremely, radically cool by the way). We fucking fried up there. It was about 38c near the sea, and I swear it must’ve been 45c or higher up on the mountain. And this was in September. My face nearly combusted and my heart stopped beating out of shock. Nuts.
So, dear readers? Is E-Town truly hot right now, or is this just some pussy-assed simulacrum of the real heat felt elsewhere? Are we just prairie wimps who enjoy some sort of twisted masochism because we live through six months of winter every year and feel that it is our sacred duty to complain about the heat? “Hottest ever” story, anyone?
Samos, Vathy Town, September 2005
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?