It so happened that today was the day I chose to take care of my biennial requirement to have my car’s emissions tested, given that I live in the Portland metropolitan area and one of the consequences of that is the added expense and hassle of going to the DEQ station every two years to have one’s car checked. There happens to be a DEQ station near where I work in the area close to Hillsboro, so off I went after work, since on Wednesdays the station is open until 7PM, and it is closed on the day (Sunday) it is most convenient to me. Of course, I didn’t realize that even though this place was just outside of a fairly sizable city, that it is in an industrial park that feels remote and has a lot of twisty roads. At any rate, I avoided the high school baseball team getting ready and did not speed through the school zone and found my way well enough.
Once I got to the DEQ station, I saw that for $21, we would end up having the privilege of running the test ourselves. For reasons I cannot fathom, I found myself being put in a self-service kiosk for the DEQ check, since I am not sure in what universe I look like a master of cars and machinery. At any rate, I found listening to the audio grimly ironic, as I did not agree that $21 was a low price to pay to test emissions for my own car. As one of the kiosks was broken, I had to wait longer to have my turn, and the technician, perhaps realizing I was not the most mechanically talented person, started the test for me, which I then finished, seeing as my car passed, and I was about $100 the poorer for it all told.
After I was done with that, I explored the area to see if I could find a restaurant listed on Google Maps. Instead, I only found a pizza place I had gone to for some birthday parties for a slightly younger set and more industrial areas, so, finding the next road across the Sunset Highway, I went to a somewhat local chain to quietly finish the book I was reading, where they were announcing right now as Wafflepalooza. Given my familiarity with Paloozas , I figured this was an odd sign. Compared to Domopalooza, though, this was a much more tame event, as I read a book about a waffling breed of politics and ate some fried chicken and waffles and washed them down with some iced tea. All in all, it was a sedate evening. Sometimes a name can be misleading.
Yet perhaps people want a party for the wrong reasons sometimes. One reads books about people wanting political parties to trim their principles and chase after polling. One goes to a business conference that also doubles as a massive launch party. One eats waffles at an event that tries to make the ordinary something more mysterious than it is. One deals with broken machinery and government bureaucracy that tries to paint itself as a good deal while outsourcing its burdensome labor to somewhat clueless drivers like me. Perhaps because I feel the need to make odd connections in life I feel that my life is especially strange and full of portents, but perhaps it is simply that I am driven to seek meaning and connection in everything that makes what others would consider an almost ordinary day to be something strange, and even a little bit unsettling.
 See, for example: