I’ve been seeing and riding a lot of the new streamlined Flyer buses. They’re not much different from the old scows, save the slightly curved-in front quarter. They’ve also got an additional route indicator marker in the front window. They seem to handle better and run quieter than the old flyers (and infinitely better than the old silver GMCs). Handy. Their most recognizable feature, however, is their smell. That unmistakable odour of new bus. Not quite pleasant, not completely unpleasant. Just…there. It’s a smell that is a comfort to a transit hound like me. After a long day of slaughtering monkeys down at the meat factory, getting on the 128 can be a real letdown. Pushing those last few yards to make the bus – especially in winter – can be akin to pulling one’s incisors out with a pair of Kleins. When I drop that two fifty into the fare slot and breathe in, I’m pretty much home. All that’s needed are some glorious tunes – these days it’s Springsteen in all his overdone but inspiring beauty. Ah, the new blue boats. May they have a long, storied life.
Route #150, Edmonton, July 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?