Gates to the sea
How John Stuart Mill saved my life

Welcome back to Oslo (or the dangers of relying solely on your newsreader for news)

I arrived the city safely from my trip to the coast, although at the wrong bus stop (must have been a new driver). Then, just as I was boarding the underground train that would take me from the city centre and home, a pickpocket unzipped my backpack and stole my wallet.

I only realised what had happened the minute the doors closed and the train started moving. I went back, but of course, no trace, no witnesses, so off to the police I went. When I finally did get home I was (almost) penniless, very angry (mostly with myself for not noticing) and decidedly thirsty, but had consigned myself to drinking tea and water 'til I could convince one of my clients whose payment is overdue to pay me (my budget for this week was in that wallet).

But no, the minute I stepped over the threshold I was greeted with the news that the city's drinking water had been contaminated, and when I got down to the mall I found that my last coins couldn't even buy me water: it was all sold out.

Of course, had I checked the national news this morning, like normal people do, I would have known about the contaminated water and might have decided to stay on in that lovely village on the coast, but no: I only checked RSS-feeds in my newsreader this morning. So I knew all the big and small media stories of the day in various corners of the world, the key financial and business headlines, a bit about what was going on in the lives of people near and dear who blog, a bit about the lives of bloggers I don't know but like to read, but I didn't have a clue about the contaminated drinking water in the city I live...

Comments

Damn, sorry to hear of your lousy day!

I know what you mean... some days I am so focused on what happens in Iraq or the USA that I miss some story about something happening a couple miles from where I live!

BTW, every time I try to post a comment, I get an error msg telling me https://samizdata.net/blog/ is an invalid URL (which it is not), so I am trying with that field blank now

Yes, it certainly the case that I loose myself in work, deadlines ponderings at the expense of what's going on around me quite often. I don't always rely solely on my newsreader: my work requires me to read a fair amount of newspapers, but I've been so pleased with how the feeds in my newsreader enables me to stay abreast of my field, and it's so addictive, that, to some extent, I've ignored how narrow my focus had become. This was a wake-up call:-)

Also, I was more up to scratch on local issues when I lived in London as I'd always read the Standard or Metro on the tube on my way to/from work, and I'd always talk to the local news agent, fish monger, dry cleaner, regulars in the local pub etc. Here in suburbian Oslo there is no such local community and no 'local' papers to read on my very short tube ride into town.

Sorry to hear about your problems posting a comment. I really don't know why Typepad won't accept that url, but all urls in the text you post will automatically be converted into links...

I usually don't read (or watch) my local news until I have helicopters hovering over my house. Then I figure it's time to figure out what the heck is going on here.

Hope you're able to drink the water soon. (I remember getting "boil water" mandates several times when we lived in Norway. I usually caught those in time because, well, there was really nothing to watch BUT local news.)

Well, I hope they catch the person who stole your wallet and boil him in oil for you, but I fear they won't. Don't blame yourself: such things happen to everyone occasionally.

Becky: Funny. I guess all mainstream media oulets tend to be parochial and navel-gazing, and yes: news here are probably still skewed towards the local. But, then I don't watch telly much, my main source of news is Internet, and I probably read more international than national news.

Michael: well, it's been about 12 years since the last, and only other time, my wallet was stolen. That, as well, happened in Oslo, funny how it's never happened during all my years in London. However, the police told me they'd had at least 15 similar cases reported from the same underground station that day...

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