Thursday 19 November 2015

Bad Mood.

On Tuesday night I won the lottery. OK not really, but I was involved in an extremely low probability occurrence.

To briefly describe the event. We were going to see The Vaccines at Wolves Civic Hall, an indie rock band from West London with a fan base that is almost exclusively young. So our mere presence as a very small right hand tail of the audience age distribution was unlikely in itself.

The route, car used and departure time was dependent on a multitude of random decisions, chosen arbitrarily on the night.

How long it took to bribe the cat with extra food, which routes to take to avoid the traffic chaos that is currently Stafford town centre, how many cars to overtake, when safe and legal to do so and how many cars to let out from side roads.

Not my fault.
An hour after a journey that usually takes an hour in total we were still crawling through Stafford when the remnants of hurricane Barney deposited a six foot long tree branch onto the roof of my 2003 mini bought new on the same day England won the Rugby World Cup..

There were no injuries, the car was driveable, but a total write off.

No other car I saw that night was driving around with recent storm damage and none of the drivers appeared particularly adept at dodging unseen projectiles. So I concluded that I'd been unlucky in the extreme. (although when you emerge unscathed from such incidents, you're invariably told how lucky you've been).

The chances that I was going to be on the wrong end of a tree branch on Monday prior to the event was very, very tiny.

Improbable, but not impossible and the same was true for everyone else on the road. But so many drivers were around that night across the path of Barney, each with a very small chance of getting written off that the chance that someone was going to suffer that fate was significant.

I was just the "lucky" one.

1 chance in 20 is often taken as the arbitrary measure of when something unseen is thought to be at play, such as talent to avoid flying trees or to score more goals than expected.

But unless there is corroborative evidence to back up the claim that an event is the product of additional skill and luck, it is worth seeing how many players are "on the road" in case you are simply seeing a notable and unlikely event that was almost bound to happen by chance to one of a numerous group of similarly talented individuals.

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