A Few Minutes At Northgate

June 22, 2006

Off the #9 onto the 20 degree sidewalk at Northgate bus terminal. Young mother, a kid herself, pushes a stroller with a cigarette hanging from her manicured claw. Her mother is in tow and yapping about the drugstore and its unreasonable prices. Middle aged native man sports a killer mullet, a real dinger, cut straight across his head in the front and dangling halfway down his back. He sweats under his denim and leather outerwear – a strange choice of garments, I think, on this perfect summer day. The headphone kid is bobbing his dyed head to the pulse of his earbuds; the hip hop guy is fading into a singularity of coolness in the fleeting bus shelter shade; the bus driver with the handlebar moustache lights a Players Plain with a wooden match, chews the butt and spits tobacco to the ground. The busses belch in the afternoon heat, one after the other, and more after that. A coupla taxis are parked just outside the bus run. The drivers sit on their respective hoods and chew the gab, wait for a fare – someone too tired to walk home from here, someone who has had enough. In the middle of the parking lot a guy sits in his rusting gray Caprice. Aviators on, head up and feet out the window. Stones on the deck. Left foot tapping.

Vignette #87

Yellow Car in Traffic

Yellow Car in Traffic

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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.

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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?

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