Notebook Excerpts.

January 27, 2006

Something a little different today…a few random jots from my notebook… pieces that may or may not become fully-formed stories.

The Blonde girl is her usual self. Hasn’t smiled all week. A bit uptight, that one.

The young buck at the front of the bus taps his feet nervously; covers his swimsuit magazine with his lunch bag.

Mother, barely 17, tries to control two little ones while rocking her newborn in a stroller. It’s cold outside.

A man with a white hard hat and a battered thermos sleeps at the back of the bus…I can see his dirty cracked hands.

Italian girl is wearing white runners today instead of usual black slippers. Is it Friday already?

I overheard a man say “When you’re done with a woman, her snatch’ll look like a bulldog eating mayonnaise.” Shit man, I’ve never heard that saying before.

The balding man dropped a note on her seat just before he got off the bus. A delicious mystery for everyone who saw the maneouver. I wonder what he thought the outcome would be. I wonder how awkward tomorrow will be…

Man with chiseled jaw looks out the darkened window and then back at me.

She wears a woven pink scarf and a black parka and her scarf matches her shoes.

In the name of all that is good and holy, why is she reading Danielle Steele?

You’ve got a cut on your nose today. Wife give you a poke in the face last night?

There used to be an elegant man behind the counter at the convenience store where I normally buy my Snickers. The pleases and thank yous were automatic and he always had a slight smile. Today, he has been replaced by a punk kid with pubescent facial hair who wears a Slipknot T-Shirt with a yellow stain on it. How fucking disappointing.

Man with bright black shoes, smoke hanging from his bottom lip, stands confidently and lets a puff of white escape his mouth and float away.

Blonde girl wears a matching purple scarf and toque with double pompoms.

Somehow, I am fascinated by the appearance of some guy’s blue doeskin shirt and his aluminum lunch pail.

Everyday the same riders, same hair, same bus ads, same poems. Not much changes on the 123.

Out here in the concrete, out here in the steel, a dozen birds humming in the citadel.

Italian girl – wearing blue jeans, and her glasses are absent. Looks better without them.

Dirty and sore-ridden, The Yellowhead Inn sits across the street. Once, in the bowels of the gambling room, I had a steak sandwich that danced across my plate. I caught a glimpse of a peeler in the other bar as I was leaving.

The guy with the orange hardhat is snoring on the bench. Looks like he’s been cleaning out toilets all day. He wakes up when Lauren woman walks by and gives him a shot of the kinky stuff.

Hey, you fucks blazing weed at 7:30 AM. Go do that shit somewhere else.

I see the woman every day on my walk. She passes me between 107th and 108th. Every day. Except for today. I left two minutes earlier.

Young man with his zipper down carries a paper coffee cup. Brown oceans form on the concrete and the kid doesn’t notice.

Vignette #29

3 reader comments (closed)

1

adam the ink slinger

“Shit man, I’ve never heard that saying before.”

That shit had me laughing my fucking ass off. Such a subtle touch, but absolutely hilarious.

Jan 28, 2006 • 01:25

2

ann

is “a steak sandwich that danced across my plate” a good thing or a bad thing?

Jan 28, 2006 • 06:19

3

gravel

@ann RE: Dancing steaks. Definitely a bad thing.

Jan 28, 2006 • 07:23

StreetRag, An Urban Notebook

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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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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?

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