As usual, the lineup in the coffee shop is long and patience-trying. A man needs a large shot of grace to keep his cool in this situation. The guy behind me isn’t keeping his cool. I can hear him pacing and shifting and muttering under his breath. I want to turn around and say, “Chill out, man. The day is young and the girl behind the counter is cute. That should be enough for you right now.” I’m sure my words wouldn’t faze the guy. He speaks, to no one in particular. “What the hell is going on here? Are they short staffed or what? We shouldn’t be standing here this long.” He’s probably right, but finding people who’ll work for 8 bucks an hour or less is pretty tough in this province. Like I say, a guy needs to grow some patience to cope in these times. I tune him out and don’t respond. After waiting for no more than five minutes he leaves in a huff and storms off in his pickup, likely on his way to another coffee shop where he will wait longer. Now all I can hear is the soft shuffle of more genial morning patrons. The perk of 7:00am coffee. The unmistakable sound of donuts being bagged. A slow morning this one, and I’m enjoying it.
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?