Our dirt bikes bring all the boys to the yard. Damn right, they're better than yours.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Why is this so hard?

So, as most of you know, I'm moving to Ottawa in just under two weeks to go to j-school. This was a pleasantly exciting abstract concept until about a week ago, when I was all like, "Oh, shit, I actually have to leave Edmonton. Like, forever." Yeah, I know, you all had to do it too, but at least most of your parents still live here so you know you can come back whenever you feel like it. Me? I'll be spending holidays in Kelowna from now on, which I know isn't exactly the worst thing in the world, but it sure makes leaving the only city you've ever lived in a hell of a lot harder.

I mean, it's not like I wish I was staying. I'm going to be unemployed soon, and I have approximately one friend left here. But I know you all went through the exact same thing when you left: didn't really have any reason to stay, but were totally sad to be leaving. What can I say? Despite everything: despite the weather, the oil money, the lack of urban planning, the complete absence of anything interesting to do for nine months of the year, I like this city. I like it a lot. I remember Mike calling Edmonton the only city he'd ever love on Covered In Oil and, while I'm sure I'll feel ridiculous saying that once I've lived in Monteal for 20 years as a wealthy journalist (what?), it definitely resonates now.

Anyway, sorry for all the sadness, but I spent the day being a tourist in my own city, so I'm feeling a little nostalgic. These photos are from a little community garden I'd never noticed before between 105th and 106th on 86th. I only noticed it this time because I was walking down the train tracks holding my camera, and some guy came up to me and was like, "There are some huge pumpkins in that garden over there! You should go get some shots of those!" Wasn't that nice? AREN'T PEOPLE IN THIS CITY GREAT? ISN'T EDMONTON THE BEST PLACE IN THE ENTIRE WORLD?!?!?!?!?!?!!!!!????

This pumpkin is named Russell:



Blogger Superdude said...

It's a tough town to leave, and even tougher to come back to.
Mostly because it's so boring.
But we've all moved to nicer places, right? I did.

8:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll always be here stokin' the hearth for the wayward puppies, Neal. Next time you're in drop a line.

And: have fun in Ottawa, Kristine!

R. E. Biesinger, PEng, MFA, PhC.

11:12 PM

Anonymous eun said...

To me, Whyte Ave. sums up what I love, and what I hate, about Edmonton. I love sitting in a place like Block 1912, sipping on a coffee, and listening to people debate ideas with a certain amount of intelligence. They're the left-of-centre folks who make the Strathcona neighbourhood what it is, who support small businesses, and who understand the value of a community.

On the I-hate-Edmonton side of the coin, there are the throngs of drunken idiot kids that can out drunken-idiot any other town's kids by a margin as wide as the gap in their heads. They're the ones that I saw kicking over newspaper boxes on Whyte earlier this evening.

The problem with Edmonton? The idiots are winning. And they're breeding.

The people who make Edmonton special -- artists, writers, intellectuals -- are the ones who are forced to leave town for greener pastures, while Alberta attracts the worst sort of selfish, opportunistic bastards that the rest of the country doesn't want (and won't employ). So, the rest of the country benefits because of it, while those of us who still live out here get shafted.

Too many of my friends have up and left, but I can't blame them. I'll be sad to see you go.


3:03 AM

Anonymous collin said...

I miss Edmonton in the fall. Winter and Summer are at opposite ends of the poison scale, and Spring is like a payday, but can you really, truly love payday.
I miss the track, Hub Cigar, those huge Italian Superstore sandwiches and that cold chill in autumn air that's full of expectation --like you're about to set sail on a perilous journey into winter.
I don't miss that crazy bum who lived in my hall closet, my shitheel landlord, the rancid grease smell of the 109 McDonalds or the jerks at Skyreach/Rexall who'd always want to fight because they figured I was anti-Oiler.
I suggest listening to "One Great City" by the Weakerthans about 20 times over a gallon of grasshopper before you leave.
Good Luck in Ottawa.
PS - Should I still call you about go-kart mayhem, vampire murders and overturned tractor trailers?

1:13 PM

Blogger Superdude said...

**"The people who make Edmonton special -- artists, writers, intellectuals -- are the ones who are forced to leave town for greener pastures,"**

Yellow pastures are better than dead, brown ones--a playwrighting friend of mine is actually considering moving to Edmonton from Calgary to get in on the Edmonchuck arts scene. God only knows (and so do I since I lived there and experienced it) how bad the scene must be down there in Ten-Gallon-Dipshit-town.

2:49 PM

Blogger Kristine said...

You can always call me about go-karts, vampires and overturned tractor trailers. I'll need something to write about while I'm at Carleton, after all.

6:58 PM

Blogger Dave said...

It's all too easy to rag on Edmonton for the (very justifiable) reasons we're all aware of, which is why I love looking at the pics at Zardex.

Fish's photos -- like few other things -- remind me that the city's beauty is often hidden in the details. It's the way the place comes alive on the first T-shirt day of the year, the hypnotic sound of driving over the High Level Bridge with your window open, the big back yards with big back yard parties, the easy access to draft Grasshopper, fishing in the muddy North Sask, that last amber day in the river valley before the wind turns the trees into skeletons, Cafe Mosaics for dinner, the clean smell of a fresh snowfall, impromptu drinking nights on the Garneau Pub patio, the purplish glow from downtown on a cloudy night, and above all else, the absolutely glorious sunsets. Take 'em in while you can.

That said, there's a lot of fun to be had discovering the subtle treasures of other cities. Especially the vampire go-kart rallies. And you've got plenty of fellow Edmontonians out here waiting to get together on weekends, go on road trips and talk endlessly about Eastern Canada doesn't "get" us.

In the spirit of Colin's earlier post, do one thing before you leave. Put The Weakerthan's "Left and Leaving" (from the album of the same title) on your iPod and go for a walk around the city at night. It may also have been written about Winnipeg, but perhaps no other song better distills how your heart can ache for a place you had to get the hell out of. Sometimes when I'm driving alone at night, I like to put it on and think about home.

12:02 AM

Anonymous collin said...

Nice job Dave...Fin... Roll closing credits.
Does any else hate that new A&W commercial? That one were the fat loser who can't stop complaining guilts the MILF into going for burgers after his attempt at cultured falls flat?
Have I been watching too much Blind Date?

2:06 AM

Blogger Dave said...

Wow, you're still watching Blind Date?! Maaan...

Speaking of fast food commercials, that new one for KFC where the guy with the boom mic starts eating the chicken stars Dov, who also starred in the Shorts Collin (Landry) and I made: Run Leuder Run and Project Rednose. We see Dov in T.O. on a regular basis. Now, of course, I'm angling hard for some free chicken.

9:46 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice story.
I was sad too, when I left my home town. Then I found a new home town and after the process repeated a few times I realized that there is no such thing. I am a global citizen. But nostalgia rolls in every time, regardless.

What's so cool about blogging? I have been staring at this monitor for 10 minutes and my eyes hurt already. I can imagine all you guys slumped over your computer screen blogging away, sharing your take on the world with all the bored office workers around the globe. Is this My Home Page R2?
anyway, gooto go, the boss's coming.

11:26 AM

Blogger Eyeris said...

Does any else hate that new A&W commercial? That one were the fat loser who can't stop complaining guilts the MILF into going for burgers after his attempt at cultured falls flat?

The most interesting part of that commercial is the part where she clearly said, "You've got some jizz there." Watch it again and you'll never see that commercial the same way again.

2:28 PM

Anonymous collin said...

I'd always thought she said drizzle... a reference to the chilled tamoto drizzle "were you supposed to eat that?" thereby completing the story arc into a perfect circle. Man, is that guy fucking fat!

Oh, oh, oh, I forgot. Buying pickles at the dollar theatre, that's Edmonton to me. That and the time I saw robot-boxing at the Transit Hotel.

6:52 PM

Blogger Superdude said...

I get you guys, and I'm in Eastern Canada. But I'm going to punch my phone soon if this fucking hold music doesn't get a hell of a lot better. Worst (stupidest) part of fishing: losing your wallet because you don't have any pockets in your shorts.

8:57 PM

Blogger Kristine said...

You know what's depressing? Sitting around your packed-up apartment on a cold, rainy day waiting for the movers to show up. For, like, hours.

12:54 PM


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