Tuesday 25 May 2021


While I would, naturally, have preferred a better - in fact, any other - angle, it was still a bit of a thrill to see myself on the front page of the NZ Herald* last week. The initial pleased Oh! was, though, immediately erased by a puzzled Huh? For two reasons: my story inside the Travel section was about Waiheke walks, while the photo was of me doing a Segway tour of Devonport back in January to write about for the SST; and I had no recollection of that photo being taken, let alone submitted to the Herald.

The Segway lady had no clue either, so I asked the Herald's Travel editor, who told me, with some surprise since she hadn't (I'm happy to say, given the afore-mentioned angle) recognised me, that it was a stock image randomly taken by one of their staff photographers. Who just happened to be up on North Head at the same time as me. Once she'd said that, I did in fact remember seeing a young man mooching about up there with a big camera as I was gliding around.

So, there's a coincidence for you - and, unlike most of the so-called coincidences I've claimed in this blog, it is an actual, real coincidence and not what is officially termed Frequency Illusion (or the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon**). It's cognitive bias - where if, for example, you've just discovered you're pregnant, you suddenly see pregnant women everywhere. They were always there, but it's only now you're one of them that your brain is selectively registering them all. 

The more you travel, the more you notice those places you've visited cropping up in the news, on TV, in conversation and so on - so, being fortunately in that category, that's why I'm always tripping over references to countries, towns, even buildings, that I've been to. It's fun. Even if, sigh, these days it's a bit sad too.

* I would like to disassociate myself completely from that grammatical error in the tagline on the banner.

** While not disputing the phenomenon, I have to note that, having read all the way through the Wikipedia article, I personally cannot find a single link between me and anything to do with Baader-Meinhof. Which is a good thing, of course.

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