Slam. Hand kills the radio alarm. Toss the sheets; into the shower. Brush the whites. Red underwear, faded denims, black t-shirt. Sling the bag and don the ‘phones. Springsteen. Out the door, boots to hard pavement. Couple minute slide up to Whyte. The morning usuals on the corner. Same guy reading the Sun. Same guy with his vulcanized, $20.00 boots. The eight is another five minutes away for them; the four another seven for me. Two fifty into the fare slot. Nod into the sunrise on the way to University. Notice the woman who usually takes the earlier bus. Off the rig and onto the concrete. Hop the 128 alongside the guy with the watersport hat. Light on here today. Dive into the valley a few minutes later. High sun blinds me as we cross the river and onto Groat. Westmount is still asleep at this hour. Christ, it’s too hot for this hour. Gonna be an ass-scorcher today. 123 hacks its sorry ass into the dock, lazily opens her doors. Grab a paper from the box – my first stab at aggregating news this week. Transfer to the driver; doesn’t bother to look. Bus waits past its time. Get moving. Open the Journal a minute later and fall asleep on page one. Bus tours the landscape. Past the carefully considered businesses and swiftly crumbling facades. Head taps the window all the way to the factory. Lids are too heavy for the day, goddammit. My stop coming up. Fuck it. I’m going home.
Buses at 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?