Although the bus I’m on is one of those super-long models, the ones with a 100+ person capacity, I find myself standing despite the availability of seats. I’m only heading downtown – I’ll be off in ten minutes. I take a gander around the #9 N-bound. Seems like it’s a good day for freaks and eccentrics on here. Then again, it’s always a good day for that.
The first to catch my eye is the woman with the red shopping cart and the pizza box. No pizza in it – otherwise I’d smell it. Trust me; I can smell pizza from twenty blocks off. What makes the scene weirder is that she’s wearing purple sweats and she’s got a rosary taped to the box. I know that JC was a hip dude and all, but with him being a bread and wine kinda guy, I’m thinking that he probably wouldn’t like pizza. Then again, I could be wrong.
Near the back is a man holding a rabbit in a cage. He seems indifferent to the rodent. Perhaps he is on his way to have the rabbit put down. Perhaps he loves that rabbit and is taking it for a checkup. Perhaps he is taking it to be professionally dressed before he eats it. Perhaps he’ll have rabbit stew and rabbit filets tonight.
The guy with the white gloves is on this bus. I’ve seen this guy before. Wears white gloves similar to what a high-end waiter would wear. This guy wears them year-round, and I have yet to figure out why. Maybe he likes the look of them. Maybe he is a high-end waiter and he’s just fond of the uniform. Very odd.
And last but not least we have CARPET MAN, a guy whose winter coat consists of a length of discarded berber tied around his waist with yellow twine. In my humble opinion, this guy is a TRUE rebel. How many of us would have the nuts to wear a piece of carpet in public? And not just any carpet either, but a light-blue, almost azure toned model c/w barely discernable remnants of underlay. Wanna wax iconoclastic? Wear a Carpet World discard, then we’ll talk.
Yep. The people on the #9 today are deeply fascinating, if a little ‘off the map’. Gotta love the days when riding the bus is more entertainment than necessity. Makes the journey more interesting and provides some appreciation for just how wacky and/or quirky people can really be. Always a fun ride.
UPDATE: Yesterday evening (March 2, 2006) a man in his mid thirties was beaten and killed on route 74 in South Edmonton. [story here] Four white youths committed this crime with three witnesses present. The man was rushed to hospital in critical condition but died shortly after arrival. This murder weighs heavy on me, and my thoughts and condolences are with the family of the victim. I hope that these four cowardly fucks get nailed to the wall for this senseless and brutal crime.
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?