The guy at the front of the line has mattress head. A real winger of do. His unkempt blonde spires are jutting up into the heady smell of 7am donuts and blue collar coffee. The clock on the wall says five to seven but my watch says ten to. The place is short-staffed so it’s taking awhile for our juice. The girls are running around pumping the java and bagging the donuts. Guy with the electrocuted pompadour taps his welted boot on the tile floor as he takes a quick glance at the line behind him. Got about a week on his face. Oil stains on his Stormrider jacket and a pack of Players peeking out from the chest pocket. The girl finally brings his java and fritter. She apologizes for the wait. “S’nuthin’. I’m already late, and I get paid by the hour.” Turns around and starts to walk out, his heavy boots dragging at the heel making that hollow slow sound. “S’cuse me,” he says as he brushes past. Goes out into the morning. Dumps a bit of his coffee on the curb. Hops into his Ford. Clock on the wall says five after. Mine says seven.
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?