First off, how you should we address you — just, “Sinkhole”?
“Sinkhole” is a bit generic, because there are so many of us around the world, waiting to open up. It would be like calling you “human writer.”
Well you started as an “underground void,” right? That would make a pretty badass name.
True, but I don’t really feel badass, certainly not like those sinkholes that swallow cars and people and homes. I don’t want to hurt anyone. I’m more of your friendly neighbourhood sinkhole. Just call me Allen.
Sounds good. So Allen, how long have you been in the area?
I’ve been growing since World War II.
Oh, so quite a while.
Yeah, I’ve sort of seen it all — the 109 Street expansion, Whyte Ave. becoming a big shot, getting that weird McDonald’s in the triangle lot. Wayne Gretzky once changed a flat tire on me.
You sound a bit bitter towards Whyte Ave. Is everything ok?
Look, Whyte Ave. was here first. And being first brings advantages. I get it. I just always felt more connected, so to speak, to Jasper Ave. — mostly via the High Level bridge. And now that it’s becoming more popular again … let’s just say I’m glad Whyte Ave. has to share the spotlight.
But why the animosity? Didn’t Whyte Ave.’s popularity benefit you?
This is my first interview in close to a century. Do you think I care about being popular?
No, I’m just surprised you don’t get along. I thought you’d be, uh … closer to Whyte Ave.
It knows what it did.
Moving on. Why did you open up now? Did you just want to add “sinkhole” to the list of scary things in 2020?
That’s what everyone thinks. And to be honest, that question kind of offends me. If I opened during World War II, I don’t think The Edmonton Bulletin would have framed it like that. Of course, journalism was different back then. Writers had tact.
I’m sorry for framing it that way. But I am wondering why you opened up now.
I’ve always been a bit shy, but now just felt like the right time to say hello. And in the spirit of Halloween, I wanted to give the trick-or-treaters something to see that was kind of spooky, but wouldn’t actually harm them. The laws of physics also played a role.
You’re reportedly 23 metres deep. Is that big for a sinkhole?
What are you implying?
Nothing, I’m just wonder …
I know how to use what I’ve got, ok?
There’s no timeline on when you’ll be covered up, so it looks like you’ll be with us for a few months at least. What are you looking forward to?
Being underground is my natural state, but I do enjoy the crisp autumn air. And Christmas is coming up …
Is that a hint? Are you asking for gifts?
As a depression in the ground with no natural external surface drainage, I don’t technically want anything. That said, I wouldn’t object to city workers placing a bow or two on the blockade fence around me.
Will you be sad when they cover you up?
No, that’s just the nature of being a sinkhole. By then, I’ll have had my time in the clouded sun. And with all the freezing and thawing over the decades, it’ll be nice to have a new, more stable covering.
I got no beef with the balls. I know a lot of people rag on them, but they’re out there every day in the elements, reflecting sunlight into drivers’ eyes. It’s not easy being above ground level … not that I’ll ever know.
Thanks for doing this. I have a sinking feeling we’ll be hearing from you again.
Was that … a sinkhole pun?
Ugh. This interview’s over.
You’re at home with popcorn and a bottle of wine. Which is your go-to Christmas movie?