Adventures in Confirmation Bias #2

On Saturday I’m feeling like a walk with Sage and invite her to try randonauting with me. She’s been curious about the idea and like me she’s been looking at the Reddit group with a mixture of curiosity, skepticism, and amusement. Most everything we see falls firmly in to the “confirmation bias” category.

“I focused on the word ‘red’ and when I got to the location there was a stop sign!”

Some things, like the people who literally found a suitcase full of human remains are harder to explain. And in between are a lot of interesting experiences that depending on your nature you may either attribute to the mysterious nature of the universe or the mysterious nature of the brain. Or maybe you’ll say there is no universe, only brains so it is all made up. These are ones like Daegan experienced last time where his search for “treasure” brought him to the park where one of his favourite teachers from high school was hanging out with his family.

Sage and I head out, open the app and think of the word “kindness” as we ask it to give us a nearby location. Our destination is about a fifteen minute walk from home. It’s hot and along a very busy road. There is construction on the sidewalk including deep holes blocking off much of the space.

We find ourselves at the location – a busy intersection next to a dismal underpass, a car wash, and a massive electrical substation. What possibly could this have to do with kindness even if we just ask our brains to make the connection for us? We are considering moving on to do some grocery shopping nearby when suddenly we hear a screech of tires and a loud BANG. We watch as one car turns left in front of another that can’t stop quickly enough and plows in to the left turning car.

Traffic is still going and so there’s no way to get to them to help. As soon as the light turns red and stops traffic, we see a man run out to the middle of the road. He checks on the man who couldn’t stop. He’s already out of his car and clearly OK. He looks in on the older lady in the car that made the left turn. She also seems OK but a little shaken – but also glad that her two dogs are clearly fine. And so, while the two drivers figure out what to do next this man directs traffic.

Sage and I are both a little shocked – first from seeing an accident but also from seeing what was clearly kindness happening immediately afterward at the spot we were directed to. We cross the street and on an electrical box on the side of the street where the kind man came from is this:

As we are standing in front of the electrical box, two cyclists race by on the sidewalk and enter the same intersection. A left turning car has to stop short to avoid hitting them. As we’re very near the location I go to pick up groceries by bicycle Sage tells me she’s finding another place for me to pick up groceries. This one is clearly a bad intersection. I consider telling her that the near-miss we’ve just seen is in great part because the cyclists were riding quickly on the sidewalk. This is why even when it feels a little uncomfortable to be riding on a busy street I never ride on the sidewalk. Drivers on cross-streets (or turning in to them) are expecting faster traffic on the roads and slow pedestrian traffic from the sidewalk. If fast traffic comes from the sidewalk it’s unexpected and potentially fatal for the cyclists. Don’t ride on sidewalks. Or if you do (there are rare cases where I do), slow to walking speed and watch VERY carefully when crossing cross-streets and driveways). PSA over.

The randonauting portion of today’s adventure is over but interesting things continue. As we stand outside the grocery store, figuring out who is going to go in (they only want one person in at a time – COVID-19 case numbers are going down but businesses are still being cautious. (Probably this is a big part of why our case numbers are decreasing)). As we are standing there, this car pulls up.

And then as we pass the construction site we notice something we hadn’t seen on the way over:

It starts out looking like a normal construction project. Someone is in the middle of building a stone wall. But then, at the far end we see this.

Someone has taken bricks and made an inuksuk – an Inuit symbol. Traditionally they’re used for marking the way but have also recently been used to symbolize hope and friendship.

Whether we are experiencing some unexplained phenomenon or an app is making us go to places we’ve not visited and encouraging us to be more watchful of the world around us the end result of this experimentation has been an overwhelmingly positive experience.

5 thoughts on “Adventures in Confirmation Bias #2

  1. The moments in our daily life bring surprises and hence instead of digging deep into why, what and how we have to be watchful. I am glad you see positivity around you Todd.
    Say hello to Sage 🙂

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