He walks into the bus station all dirty jeans and scuffed Red Wings, retractable key fob on his belt and $35.00 an hour confidence in his step. Graying hair and creeping up on 60. He walks like he’s a half-sack into a Friday night – sizing up everything and everybody, ready to swing if necessary. It’s a confidence that men half his age wish they had. The skittish skateboarders get out of his way as do the perfumed heels. Decades old denim hangs from his shoulders and I can make out a faint bleached ring on the upper right pocket – The Chaw Pocket. He chews dangerously. His rough claws echo the mottled concrete pillar that he is now leaning against. Stares off into no particular direction. It’s a world-weary three hundred yard stare that takes decades to perfect. Shuts his eyes for a moment, seemingly in deep thought. Heads outside to spit his wad. Chunk of brown sails from his mouth to the already sullied concrete platform. In one flowing motion he pulls out a pack of DuMaurier and sparks one up. Spits. Takes a drag. Adjusts his soiled cap. With a cigarette hanging from his mouth, he stares out into the southern morning sky with a grizzled grin. Looks at his watch. It’s Tuesday, 7:36 am. He’ll live forever.
Northsider Bus Seat
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?