Life in the hands of Google

I am woefully bad at making life decisions. I can waffle for months while opportunities come and go without latching onto any one of them.

Trouble is, i don’t see a decision as saying “yes” to something; i see it as saying “no” to the thousand-and-one alternatives. And i hate the narrowing of possibility. As a guy with no great agenda, who doesn’t see much point to grandiose career and life plans, who prides himself on accepting and enjoying whatever comes along, it’s hard to choose, even when choice is forced upon me.

To wit: my looming return from the summer’s travel. It’s got to come to an end sometime, somewhere. But when? And where? Where to lay up my carcase as the world has its way with me?

Then i hit upon the ancient stratagem of the oracle — that mysterious, evasive entity one consults at turning points in one’s existence. (Wikipedia: An oracle is a person or agency considered to be a source of wise counsel or prophetic opinion; an infallible authority, usually spiritual in nature.) Of course, some superstitious wretch poking at chicken guts in a stinking cave won’t hold a pop-can of credence in the modern world. No, these days who better to consult than the mighty sage, Google?

So i dashed off a quick list of things that are important to me, tacked on the names (one at a time) of the various towns that have appealed to me in the past four months, and plugged it into Google to see how many hits came up — possibly a meaningful indicator of how involved each particular town is with the items of interest. Here’s my first crack:

Google search of zen + bicycle + poetry + green + [town name]

Results (alphabetically):

  • halifax ………… 178,000
  • montreal …….. 860,000
  • ottawa …………. 321,000
  • tofino ……………….. 6,080
  • toronto ………… 203,000
  • ucluelet ……………. 1,130
  • vancouver …….. 175,000
  • victoria ……….1,090,000
  • winnipeg ………. 118,000

You’d think the larger cities (especially Toronto) would have the most hits on any search, simply because of the greater number of computer users and, presumably, web sites. But the results belie that, which makes me think there may be some validity to the technique. I’m surprised.

Of course, small towns stand no chance against cities in this ranking, so i’ll have to refine the method. But preliminary results look, as the scientists say, promising. So far Victoria is a clear leader, with Montreal running second. Stay tuned as Google messes with my life.

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