It is often difficult to know interesting/quirky things happen more often in my life or just that I tend to remember and record and ponder them more often. Let us take today as an example. As a way of showing the sort of mundane events that tend to take place in my life as well as the ways in which they lead me to ponder and muse upon matters, I will give some details of my own excursion to and from an interview, a trip that could have been mundane but which was full of odd and intriguing quirks that are worthy of reflection.
As is my fashion, I gave myself a bit of extra time since the trip to my interview this morning was a rather lengthy one that required two transfers, one in Oregon City and the other in Lake Oswego. When I went to the Clackamas Town Center to purchase a ticket, both of the machines had problems and I ended up getting a free all-day ticket from a Tri-Met employee who had (providentially?) come to cash out the machine while I was trying to get it to work unsuccessfully. After that, while waiting for the bus to go to Oregon City, some people asked about the Sunnyside bus that they had just missed. Apparently I appeared to be the friendliest person waiting for the bus.
While on the bus to Oregon City and then to Lake Oswego, I did some reading in a book about self-sufficiency, which I will review if and when I finish it. While waiting at Lake Oswego I found a small group of special education students and their instructor talking and amusing themselves. One young lady who appeared to have cerebral palsy was moving her wheelchair around happily while we waited (it was a cold morning, starting out snowing). In looking at the country between the Lake Oswego and Tigard stops, I was intrigued by the woods and hills and their Appalachian feel, something that always warms my heart. Likewise, I was intrigued by the ironies of a start-up company using space from an established and rather modest commercial park, though I suppose it is vastly cheaper to do it that way.
While at the interview, when I was not reading about the problems of the women who take care of their menfolk with sports concussion-induced dementia or pondering the irony of Christian activists in Portland, I was seeing the lay of the land. A simple investigation showed that none of the people in the office appeared to be native Portlanders. In fact, the person interviewed just before me was a dapper African-American young man from an entrepreneurial family who just happened to be from Tampa. The fellow at the front desk, who was from Manhattan himself, then joked about how Tampa was a place that people are trying to run from. Ouch! The irony of seeking to build local brand recognition in a community-minded area where so many people are not native was not lost on me.
On the way back I chose to take a different way, and that route ended up taking me north from the PCC Sylvania campus (with its reminders of my native land) along Capitol Highway, where I was faced with further ironies–a Fryer Tuck restaurant right next to a Jewish delicatessen, a group of trendy stores next to a community market, all of which was near a very fancy brick building for a food charity that advertised itself as a fishes and loaves store, in honor of the miracles of the feeding of 4000 and the 5000 where food was multiplied by our Savior to feed the hungry masses of people who followed to hear his voice (and also get food in a destitute area). Later on I passed the courthouse for the Ninth Circuit of the Court of Appeals, which tends to make notoriously iffy decisions and whose judicial philosophy is quite different from my own. Life is full of ironies, and my life is somewhat more ironic than most, I suppose.
For me, the biggest contrasts one sees are between high and low things. Seeing someone on a bus, a fellow reader, enjoying The Children of Hurin while on their way to college classes, and a few minutes later seeing a homeless man trying to pick up the dime he dropped on the floor while trying to pay for his bus fare is quite a serious contrast. Our lives are full of such contrasts, and I suppose most people just go about their lives without thinking or reflecting on them. As an outsider I tend to spend a lot of time and energy trying to understand the people and areas around me, wherever I go, knowing that situational awareness and knowledge is very necessary when one is seeking to establish a reputation as well as avoid unnecessary trouble. Still, paying attention to the people and places around me is something that provides a great bit of enjoyment to what would otherwise be a rather mundane life. Our lives are more fascinating the more they are examined and the more the complexities and ironies of our situation are honestly faced and expressed.