I developed insomnia 4:00 one morning and never did fall back asleep. After an hour lying there, I decided to go for a run. This was actually a perfect plan because I was due for a one and hadn’t gotten one in the night before as I’d hoped. It was a little after 6 a.m. when I got going.
When I looked down my street I saw the receding figure of a guy walking. I headed up toward my usual running neighborhood. Seeing the guy walking was a frequency of 2 males—including me—both exercising.
|As an information scientist who teaches students how to conduct literature searches, I consistently urge them to “sleuth the heck out of [their] search results.” One aspect of this sleuthing is a significance analysis, looking for both uniqueness and, as an apparent contradiction, frequency. Significance is a detail that makes me say “hmm” or “wow” a first time. Frequency is, of course, when that significant detail happens again, because once does not a pattern make.|
The first person I actually passed was a person walking a dog. That person was female. And she was minding another being. The 2 of us males were both alone.
I passed another woman. This one was walking a baby in a stroller. Now I started wondering about the meaning of this developing pattern. Did I really want to admit that when men go out they tend to mind themselves but when women do they tend to mind others?
|An affirmative answer is actually not unreasonable—I had long been observant of gender tendencies—I just wasn’t sure the run I had embarked on was actually a kind of literature search of case studies on gender tendencies. It turned out that it was.|
The next person I passed was…
walking a dog…
in a baby stroller.
The frequency analysis was now 3 females, all minding another being, 2 in strollers and 2 with 4 legs, compared to 2 males, minding themselves.
By the time I finished I had passed another 2 men and 2 women, all of whom were walking dogs. As far as frequency in this case study, then, dog walking is extremely significant. One of the men, though, was also walking 2 children, probably about a 9 and an 11 year old (before 7:00 a.m.! They were certainly not teenagers.). As something that made me go “hmm,” that bit of significance attributed to him credit for minding a few other beings, only one of whom had 4 legs.
It was all very interesting within an isolated period of time—unique, yes.
The next day was a Saturday when I normally join a group of people running together. We stopped at one of our standard locations with an outdoor spigot. One of the women took the hose nozzle next and passed it to me. I thanked her for her kindness and blithely refilled my water bottle. I gave the nozzle back to her. She took the nozzle back and promptly started filling someone else’s water bottle.
|Image Credit: robertoaiuto, 2014.|