Through work I have contact with Mike (not his real name) once every couple of months. The picture I have in my head of Mike when I speak to him is of a guy who used to busk for money outside the Countdown supermarket in Dunedin. The Countdown Guy was in his 40s, wore a red knitted woolen pullover regardless of the season (granted the temperature doesn’t vary that much over the course of a year in Dunedin) and had a straggly black beard. He would stand outside the entrance, a tin box half full of coins at his feet, and with his hands clasped together in front of him, he’d badly sing songs that screamed out for some type of accompaniment. The saddest part was that on the days when Countdown Guy wasn’t belting songs out, his place would be taken by some 10 year-old cello prodigy who’d play so sweetly that if you closed your eyes you’d swear that Yo-yo Ma was slumming it in Dunedin.
So when I call to Mike, in my head I’ve some how transplanted The Countdown Guy to Australia and placed him on the other end of the phone. I’ve met Mike in the flesh a number of times and yet every new time we meet I’m surprised when he steps out of the lift and looks like a tall Sean Fitzpatrick. Somewhere along the line I made the connection between Mike’s voice and the Countdown Guy and it’s stuck. Just another one of those Reality Splinters that have become embedded in my brain.