Early Morning Streetcar, Published 28 August 1946
'Cross town with Cross
This being a civil service town, not a very large proportion of its population rides to work on the street cars before 7 a.m. Those of us whose privilege it is to roll over for another forty winks when we hear the government charwoman's clock in the next house ring at 5 a.m. should take a ride on one of those early cars.
Faces at 6.30 a.m. of passengers parked on Davie Gill's cold leather seats reflect, perhaps better than at any other time of the day, the troubled state cf this old world. Grim facts there are lined and careworn. Down at the mouth faces too. from which hopeless eyes stare and from whose lips bitter words are flung. And there are grey faces whose owners should obviously be taking a rest cure instead of threading their way through the murky early morning mist of the city in a tram. Bloated faces, beer sodden faces, faces with red eyes from overindulgence the night before. Faces of women with bedraggled hair (they don't get time in the mornings to primp before the glass and puffy maid's faces ready to glare at a Rockliffe mistress at 8 a.m. with forbidding over the breakfast table.
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Occasionally a cheery face, carried on a pair of squared-back shoulders bounds into the car. puffing a pipe, and makes its way to the rear. Then all the weary faces are uplifted and what may pass for the ghost of a whimsical smile passes over some of them. Then also do the down-turned lips mutter to their neighbors and the bedraggled girls with thin fingers try to do things with their hair.
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But, by and large, early morning street car passengers do not look happy. There is of course the man enroute to catch an early train, with the prospect of several hours of relaxation in a .comfortable coach before him he's an exception. Or the holidayer starting out to catch an 'AM bus with no cares to confront him. But mostly people in early trams are either just leaving their beds with a hard day's work ahead of them, or just leaving their night's work with a disturbed day's sleep in prospect. Ride the early AM trams if you would see behind the blinds of life in the Capital city.
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One of the editors early morning street car set includes a big husky brown man, always "dressed to the nines," who gets on the tram at the corner of Bank and Albert street clutching a newspaper in his great brown hands. Once aboard the Rockcliffe car he sits back comfortably and starts to read the picture of contented well-being.
Another passenger is a middle aged man who invariably says good morning to a middle aged woman but who never sits with her. Are they sweethearts from way back - but both married to someone else?
Then there is the inevitable track sweeper just finishing his night's job and still wearing the white belt with the bejewelled red eyes in the back - his tail light as safeguard against un-observing night drivers. And there is the Government House gardener, young, bespectacled, a former Citizen building elevator operator, who is happy under his new master Lord Alexander plying lawn mower and rake on the velvety lawns of a beautiful Rideau Hall.
And Just to add a cheery note to an otherwise almost surrealistic picture of morning street car depression, are the rear seat smokers who fill the car with smelly but cheerful smoke through which their few droned words seem to find it hard to penetrate.