Eclectic Blue

Using your brain

Comments Off on Using your brain 18 July 2018

Notes from a broken record.

Working in the world of head injury, I notice more what’s going on around me. I learn about the human brain and how it controls everything. Yet, if you were able to hold a human brain in your hands, it would seep through your fingers. Without the brain life ceases to exist and it is oh so vulnerable.

It’s why I have recently become more uneasy about boxing, a sport of which the whole point is to render the opponent unconscious, through deliberately hitting someone on the head. It does not require a neurosurgeon to work out that landing blows that affect the brain is not a good thing. So that spectacular knockout makes me think of the brain swishing about inside the skull, bouncing from side to side. But it’s when I ordinary people doing reckless things that I really get mad.

Today, for example, I stopped at a crossing near my home to allow a woman pushing a pram in which her baby was sleeping. All well and good, you might think, except that she did not even cast a glance in either direction at any stage in the act of crossing. She made the massive assumption I would stop, if she thought about it at all. Given the number of drivers I saw shooting red lights across South Gloucestershire, she dodged a bullet today.

This woman was not alone in her ignorance and stupidity. I spent much of my journeys today observing cyclists weaving wildly across the road, ignoring traffic signals and generally acting in contempt at the rules of the road. I could not begin to even estimate the number of cyclists I saw without helmets and the number I saw listening to music on their earphones. Are these people completely mad?

Stupid mothers, idiotic cyclists and huge numbers of people who have turned jaywalking into a dark form of art, I saw them all today and then I thought about those people who were not so lucky. I cannot go into even vague detail for professional reasons but I know how lives have been wrecked by idiot pedestrians and arrogant cyclists, groups of people who are convinced “It won’t happen to me”.

And it is the “It won’t happen to me” bit I understand most. When I smoked, I was convinced that lung cancer or heart disease would simply pass me by. I would be the lucky one. I suspect most of us feel like that at some time. It’s rubbish.

I wish the cyclist who undertakes at speed on a main road when there is a proper cycle path nearby (see Gipsy Patch Lane, for example) thinks at what might happen if the car driver stops to let someone out, is forced to move left. And then think about a life of severe, irreparable brain damage ending the chance to do everything you want to do in life. Or inflicting misery or even death upon a vulnerable baby who might never have a life at all.

Life can end, or might as well, in an instant. On another day, God knows what I might have seen.

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