Sullen and alone, a young woman sits in the corner of the restaurant. I have taken notice of her on my way to the washroom. It is near closing time and I assume that she has just finished her shift. Her look of defeat is understandable given that serving self-important patrons all day is enough to drive anyone into a thundering depression. I find her interesting not because of her unplussed look, but because of her obvious fatigue. Arms to her sides, feet askew under the table, hair slightly off. She is breathing from her mouth. I wouldn’t say that she is beautiful but there is beauty in her unguarded position, as if one could pull up a chair directly across from her and she just wouldn’t notice or care. In my experience, that kind of weariness is to be enjoyed and savoured. There is a certain clarity that arises within such a state of surrender; a kind of “no bullshit” mindset. Troublesome details, those little hindrances that plague us all from time to time, suddenly fail to register as important. Life seems to take on a more accessible tone. There is a short-lived “clarity of purpose” that usually leaves faster than it arrives.
The young dishwater brunette in the corner has that look. Weighted eyes and dead wings. On my way back from the washroom, I notice her looking into the night window, chin on her hands. She seems to be looking at nothing. In the second before I turn away and head back to my table, I see her head turn ever so slightly to glimpse something in the distant midnight.
StreetRag ::: An Urban Notebook
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?