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15 February 2008 @ 01:20 am
Meme post two  
elanna9 tagged me for the seven quirky facts meme. I am desperate to procrastinate, and therefore very grateful.

1. I am an excellent swimmer. This never ceases to amaze Australians.
2. I was raised by hippie lawyers and lesbians. In terms of reading and arguing, this was the childhood from heaven. In terms of grooming and girliness, it was akin to being raised by wolves.
3. I have broken lots of bones, mostly thanks to cars, which are attracted to me.
4. I do not drive. Given 3, I see no reason to tempt fate. Also, I like walking a great deal, and usually have an interesting time on public transport. For this reason, I tend to live in cities with decent public transport. (And my next move will be to a city with good cycleways!)
5. I have very little memory of 1994 and the first half of 1995 due to my most exciting car/body interaction. I am also very vague on a lot of other events and some nouns for the same reason. It's all still in my head, it's just hideously disordered. I make jokes about being forgetful, but the truth is I will either remember something very well, or not at all.
6. I have never, ever wanted to be married. When the other little girls were playing Bride, I was playing War or Astronaut, and encouraging them to join in. That said, my current relationship is coming up on its 13th anniversary and I think I'll keep him.
7. When I was five, I read King Lear, saw it played on stage, and saw Lon Chaney's Phantom of the Opera at the cinema. During this period I remember staying awake at night horrified at the realisation that there was nothing. NOTHING.  That I would die and be gone and that the world was wholly unfair, and that even if Gonerils died, so did Cordelias and nothing I did could change that. To allow me to get to sleep, I would lie there and chant "Fairies! Think of the fairies!!" This went on until I was about ... oh ... 22 or so.
down the hills and round the bendsnorton_gale on February 14th, 2008 04:12 pm (UTC)
What happened in the car-body interaction, if I may be so bold to ask?

You were 5 when you read King Lear? And you were taken to Phantom of the Opera? No wonder you were thinking of the fairies. :)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 15th, 2008 02:39 am (UTC)
The longest reply ever ...
I was out one night with some band friends after a gig, and decided I wanted to go home now, so I grabbed my bike -- it up like the Starship Enterprise -- and began to ride off. I made two mistakes. The first was that I was going to the ATM three blocks down the road, so I didn't do up my helmet for this part of the trip, because I wasn't really in trip mode yet.

The second was that as I came up to a set of lights at which I had the green, I looked at the little white car waiting at the red turning arrow (I knew these lights) and assumed the driver was sane. Now, that driver was, but the taxi coming down the road behind him was not. He put his foot down, ran around the stopped vehicle, through the red arrow, and straight into the side of me.

In a way it was lucky that I wasn't wearing my helmet, as I was knocked unconscious when I hit the body of the taxi. It had hit me square on the pedals, damaging both of my Achilles tendons and gouging a hole in my left leg at the rear of the bike where the pedal was driven into it. I probably also broke my ribs as I bounced off the bonnet and windshield, rather than later in the piece.

From the taxi my momentum carried me in an apparently impressive parabolic arc towards the road, which I hit with my face, ripping off most of the skin and breaking my poor old nose (again), and cracking my jaw and cheekbone. Witnesses describe me bouncing disturbingly on my face and the top of my head; I had scabs behind both ears when I thought to look a few weeks later. My poor limp body was just jacknifed at these points, except for my right hand which was punched into the ground at some point, causing some very interesting fractures, and my left palm which seems to have skidded across the road but which was wearing a good gel-palm cycling glove, so the glove gave its life for me.

I was only unconscious for about a minute or two. When I came around there was a lovely lovely motorcyclist whose name I tragically lost (or he'd have received many flowers!!) who had stopped traffic around me, sent someone to secure my bike, made sure the ambulance and police were called and had used his leather jacket to wedge my head still, since he was fairly convinced I must have broken my neck.

His first and very sensible words to me were "Stay completely still!"

Mine to him were: "I hurt everywhere. But I suppose that's good if you think about it, right?"

He assured me that it was.

I told him I had a big party to go to in 10 days, and asked if he thought I'd look all right by then. "Errrr, probably not," was his quite correct assessment.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 15th, 2008 03:30 am (UTC)
Part two
So, the ambulance arrived. They were told what had happened. I assured them I could feel all my extremeties and they were pretty bloody painful, thanks. They said "Yay! But you've probably broken a few vertebrae anyway, so backboard and neck thingy for you" (I admit they did not say thingy.)

Being strapped down hurt, this was the only time I cried. They offered me gas, but I refused because it makes me giggle like a loon and I though giggling would be bad at this point.

Off to casualty we went. They did lots of X-Rays, and, after looking at the films from my neck, they did them again. And again from a different angle. And then scanned me twice. I was in and out of consciousness through this, but a few times I told them that I was pretty sure I hadn't broken any vertebrae. They told me I was very lucky, but I probably had, however it was just bone damage if I had and it would heal up in a few months.

I woke up properly several hours later down in casualty, with no restraining bits save around my hand. "You're very lucky!" the doctor said. I told him I knew. He told me that I had a bit of a skull crack, too, and asked me questions. I could remember the date, the Prime Ministers of several countries and do arithmetic. But it became clear I had no sense of time passing, now what I had done last week, though the previous 24 hours were very clear, nor sections of time from before that. And I kept muddling up some words.

That's OK, he assured me, it's pretty common, you grow out of it.

Which I did, mostly, but it took quite some time. For the next six months there was an awful lot of miming. Luckily my friends are all hilarious and good at charades. My best one ever was putting hands on either side of my head and declaring "Christmas things!"

"Oh, reindeer!" they deduced.

Some memories came back in total, others in parts, some not at all.

For the most part this was not so bothersome; I am not one of those people who lives on memories and am always good at making new ones. But there were a few dicey parts. It will not surprise you that these were to do with sex. I had a brief but apparently big fling with an American a few weeks before. I remember quite liking him, but exactly none of the sex. He's a friend these days and just assumes I am invoking British reserve when I do not discuss our fling.

Worse, I slept with one of my friends around this time, but can never recall that I did. Let me just say that sex is never a substitute for a birthday present and thinking that it is will only get you into trouble. Happily, I had previously described in great detail the incident to my darling housemate, who assured me that no, I was not having a relationship with this nice but crazy girl, no matter what she suggested.

My friends were magnificent and helped me with everything until I was back to normal. I've left out the fact that I was truly ugly for a few weeks; face just a mass of scabs, bruises and swelling. It was very interesting to be ugly, people treat you very differently, including some shopkeepers who treated me as though I was stupid. I had to laboriously point out that I was still very smart and would only look like this for a short while, so they might want to get over it if they expected me to keep shopping there.

I did go to the big party, I wore a pair of heeled boots and opaque tights, with hotpants and a cool jacket. I spent a lot of the evening talking to a friend who kept bursting into laughter. I asked her why eventually. She told me that men kept walking into the room, looking at me from behind and clearly deciding "Ooh, that looks tasty ..." sauntering up behind while prepping 'lines', then making it to the sight line where they could see my face and retreating in horror.

What terrifies me is that two boys who I sort of knew both made serious plays that night. I wasn't that grateful to be alive. NB I am also not that irresistible, I think it was the fact that I was momentarily weakened and therefore represented a moment of Brammers without sarcasm, which was clearly a once in a lifetime opportunity.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 15th, 2008 03:52 am (UTC)
Part three
There are several morals to this story. Firstly, never underestimate the stupidity of drivers, it surpasses anything you can imagine.

Secondly, if you wish to escape hospital early, live with a house full of medical students and nurses. They will use you as an example in their classes, but they will also be very kind and not fuss if you need a hand with bathing.

Thirdly, never cycle in Sydney, you will die.

Fourthly, disaster can be good. I met J two months later and decided that he was The One, a decision I would never have made if I was still in flightly "right, had enough, back to Blighty" mode. I was right, he was. Being ugly also taught me to care less about looks and pay more attention to people themselves. Although I was only temporarily ugly, I remember the looking away of many, and the kindness of a little girl at the pet shop who picked up a rabbit from the petting pen and held it up for me, saying "Would you like to pat the bunny? It always makes me feel better when I am sad." She's a bit of a personal hero of mine.

Fifthly, it's not all nothing. It's the people we meet and relate to and how we can all be there for each other, and remembering to be thankful when others are there for us.

Oh, and if you must go to a party the day after escaping hospital, don't wear high heels. I ached for weeks after that.
down the hills and round the bendsnorton_gale on February 15th, 2008 02:15 pm (UTC)
Re: Part three
BB, thanks so much for your lengthy and extremely comprehensive comment! That accident sounds truly harrowing, and I am so glad you survived in one piece. It must have taken a really long time to fully heal.

It is true that people will treat you differently based on appearance, and I only notice that more as I age. In college, my husband spent several months in a wheelchair after surgery, and he said people were very condescending and treated him like a child because he was "handicapped."

Fifthly, it's not all nothing. It's the people we meet and relate to and how we can all be there for each other, and remembering to be thankful when others are there for us.

I agree wholeheartedly.
Blindmouseblindmouse on February 14th, 2008 08:32 pm (UTC)
I am also very vague on a lot of other events and some nouns for the same reason. It's all still in my head, it's just hideously disordered.

So, er, I'm currently writing a novel featuring magical amnesia (because the crack, it calls me). Do you think I'd be able to pick your brain about a couple of things some time?
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 15th, 2008 02:18 am (UTC)
Such as it is, you are welcome to its pickings.
Blindmouseblindmouse on February 15th, 2008 02:36 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm email you some time when I've got my thoughts together.
lilian_cho: Lilian for melilian_cho on February 15th, 2008 12:48 am (UTC)
7 is just X-D

*is also curious about #5*

Happy V-Day, btw! =D
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 15th, 2008 03:38 am (UTC)
Aw ... thank you! I am so happy we did meet! As for #5, I've written a v long explanation above to anthimaeria, the first asker. Oh the saga!
lilian_cholilian_cho on February 15th, 2008 08:05 am (UTC)

Ooh, saga is right. There's at least one short story in there! Or even a novella!
The little girl = love.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 15th, 2008 08:10 am (UTC)
Heh! I left most of it out!

She was great. Her mother told her to stop bothering me so I quietly told her mum that it was okay, and that she was a fabulous kid and that her mother should be proud of her good heart. Mum smiled proudly and was a wee bit teary. I like to think nice kid received the next treat she asked for!
lilian_cho: Aziraphale also worshiped bookslilian_cho on February 15th, 2008 08:38 am (UTC)
lol, novel then! Write it!

Aww...I'd love to have a kid like that too =)
Must be easily hurt as she was growing up though =S (because of her gentle heart)
romaine24: valentinecoffeeromaine24 on February 15th, 2008 01:39 am (UTC)
Joining in the being bold and asking about #5.

Oh, #7 I can so relate to, drove me nuts trying to figure out what it "life" was all about. Catholic school did not help :)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 15th, 2008 03:39 am (UTC)
See the reply to anthimaeria above, it's too long to go through more than once.

Hee! Catholic schools are only good for finding partners in crime, as all the Catholic kids I knew were desperately keen to find ways of rebelling.
romaine24romaine24 on February 15th, 2008 03:59 am (UTC)
Yes, it was pretty silly to let us know about a thing called "Confession". The other religious folks all that they would go to hell for doing somethings they shouldn't. Us Catholic folks just went to confession every Sunday and promised not to do it again. :)

Wow, the accident sounds horrendous. It is truly amazing you weren't more broken. The Christmas thingy memory made me LOL *sorry*

blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 15th, 2008 04:15 am (UTC)
That used to make me laugh, although indulgences were even worse!

Yeah, I was lucky with that one. And it's OK to laugh, it was pretty funny. A lot about that recovery process was funny, though having a cold with a smashed face was not.
lackofmendacity (Diana): red liplackofmendacity on February 15th, 2008 01:48 am (UTC)
Wait, why are we amazed by your ability to swim? *is confused* All Australians can swim, just like they can all slap a steak on the barbie and play touch football. ;)

But awww, it's nice to hear you're keeping your guy, despite all the cars attracted to you. *g*
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 15th, 2008 02:13 am (UTC)
It's because I'm secretly English and moved out here as a proper grown-up. Therefore all my Aussie mates are very surprised to realise I can a. swim and b. understand the ALP.
lilian_cho: Aziraphale also worshiped bookslilian_cho on February 15th, 2008 08:08 am (UTC)
What's ALP?
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 15th, 2008 08:13 am (UTC)
Australian Labor Party, whose history, factions and internecine struggles are only comprehensible after long study (I went out with one of them and remain astonished at the behind-the-scenes evil they get away with. Though it was rather cool hearing the then-Health Minister telling jokes about the then-Prime Minister.)
lilian_cho: Penguin!Chiyo-chan from Azumanga Daiohlilian_cho on February 15th, 2008 08:40 am (UTC)

lackofmendacity (Diana): Tom Welling - ponderinglackofmendacity on February 15th, 2008 05:08 pm (UTC)
Ah yes, I recall now your moving here to follow a certain Novocastrian-type. :)

But umm, I hear UK weather is (constantly) too cold to swim. Have we been fooled all this time, or are you simply in the minority? *g*

And umm, to be honest I don't think many Australians actually understand the workings of the ALP themselves. Just throw in a word like "factions" and you'll be much admired. ;)
shadowclubshadowclub on February 16th, 2008 04:58 am (UTC)
You seemed to have had an interesting life:) When I was a kid I used to play a game called King Lear! I have no idea it was a play or anything I just like the ring and made up a game:) It was suitably violent and active methinks...

blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 21st, 2008 04:05 pm (UTC)
This made me laugh! Sorry for the delay in replying, but I think you must have been tremendously cool to have come up with something like that as a wee one!
spark_of_chaosspark_of_chaos on February 16th, 2008 08:05 pm (UTC)
I think I'll keep him.

♥ Sounds far better than what any white dress can promise. :g:
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 21st, 2008 04:40 pm (UTC)
Well, he also holds more than half of my F1 memories in my head. I'd never keep various crashes straight without him!

Though the fact that he looks like a cross between Sean Bean and Jamie Bamber may have a little more to do with things ...
madchemist36madchemist36 on February 20th, 2008 03:32 am (UTC)
Hmm, I'm seeing some bizarre parallels here. It frightens and intrigues me.

I too was raised by lesbians, and I'm glad I am not the only walking stereotype of being raised by such. Oddly enough my mother was a total "lipstick lesbian" and her girlfriend is almost as bad. I'm actually much more butch than my mother which not-so-secretly amuses her greatly when I bring boys home.

Personally, I was constantly attempting to convince the girls in my neighborhood that catching snakes and salamanders was a perfectly legitimate way of spending a day. Thank god for all the little boys who are still my friends and who thought I was the coolest girl they had ever met.

I'm currently recovering from a lovely accident that occurred in May 2006. I completely liquified my ankle and broke my right leg. I've been in a wheelchair, used a walker, and have been on crutches ever since. A woman on the scene kept me calm and made phone calls for me. I think she may have called every member of my family in an attempt to find SOMEBODY who was available to answer the phone. She held my hand and helped me out of the car when it caught on fire. I'm pretty sure I would have died if she hadn't been there. Daily, I curse the fact that I never discovered her name.

Everything changes when you have an accident. People treated me differently afterwards. They still do. Not many of them get the idea that I want to be treated exactly as I was before. I had to get rid of my boy of 5 years because he couldn't handle it. He kept getting upset with me for laughing about it, but he didn't understand that you have to laugh at it in order to move on. Kudos to you for discovering that, sorry you had to go through that in order to learn it.

Thanks for sharing.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 21st, 2008 05:05 pm (UTC)
Ah the internet ... bringing secret twins together since the mid '80s.

Boys were always so much more fun than girls in the salamander years. I like to think that hanging out with 'butch' girls actually helped a lot of boys to have better relationships with women in later years. The fact that they are all still your friends suggests that theory holds water.

OWW! Oh feet are bad, I shattered my navicular in another cycling crash, but the leg was OK and it only took six months to get back to walking unaided.

What a great woman, and how brave! She knows that she did well, though, even if you were never able to talk to her again.

Have they been able to rebuild your ankle? My friend in NZ spent three years having her femur rebuilt ... legs are so slow and so debilitating! I hope that you are continuing to heal!

And I do know what you mean about the changes ... I met my lad just after the bruises faded from the head accident, but he was with me all through the foot and treated me as though I was made of glass for some time. Very odd. Humour is the only way, unless you want to annoy yourself with angst. I hope that things keep looking up for you, and will finally have time to comment on your most recent post in the morning, at last!

Did your mum ever tell you the lesbian theory of evolution? Or was that just my mum's set?
madchemist36madchemist36 on February 21st, 2008 06:44 pm (UTC)
I've thought much the same concerning my "boys". They have a much higher than average "relationship length" time as compared to other boys their age. Of course they all claim it is because they have a "translator" available to them. I've had many a panicked phone call at one in the morning "Mel, please talk to (girlfriend of the moment) she is angry and I do not understand and I fear my head may implode from the anxiety". Quite hilarious. I've led lessons on the mysteries of girls many a time while growing up. Though it got rather tiresome to have eight boys all attempting to frighten off your first boyfriend. They all seemed to have forgotten just who was throwing them into headlocks and rubbing dirt in their hair when we were younger. Once I had once again convinced them that I was in no need of protection, it calmed down and I no longer had potential boyfriends running in terror. My boyfriends have all managed to enjoy having an extremely low-maintenance girlfriend who enjoys video games, the great outdoors, and who tends to explain in small words when she is angry. Huzzah for boys as friends! The fact that I am rather short and all of my guy friends are all taller than average just makes everything funnier.

Well, I'm still in physical therapy so I'm not quite there yet. They are trying to put off my ankle fusion as long as possible because I have a blood disorder (basically my immune system is terrible) and they don't want to risk it. However, I've stopped making progress and I fear it is only a matter of time. Of course I don't mind continuing to go to physical therapy as it helps to keep me sane and I've made quite a few friends there in the year and a half I've been going. My therapist likes to joke that I'm practically family at this point and has invited me to her children's high school graduation. Considering her eldest is six and graduation usually takes place at eighteen...you can see how much progress she feels I've made. The only thing I miss is my independence. I can't ride my bicycle anymore (will probably never get that back), I can't walk very far at all, and driving is still out of the question as it was my right foot which was injured. Luckily my insane friends enjoy kidnapping me.

Yes, the ex was rather insistent that I was helpless. I was rather sure I was not. After a year of back and forth on the matter, I decided I really didn't need the pity. It was a shame he couldn't take a hint from my friends who thought nothing of the idea of bringing me bowling two weeks out of the hospital. Bowling with crutches is hilarious and I highly recommend it for a laugh.

lesbian theory of evolution? Possibly, although they didn't give it a name. There was a lot of talk around the dinner table about the scientific reason behind the existence of lesbians and gay men. There was mention of the differences in the emotional and mental needs of women and men. They were also convinced that same-sex parental groupings were more stable for children i.e. Women were better off raising girl children and men were better off raising boys (Honestly, I have some issues with that particular idea). They also talked about the harems of gorillas and how the other females will take care of each other in the group and the male is only interested during mating. Most of the time, however they took a more spiritual view of the whole matter. More like "People fall in love with people. The packaging doesn't really matter." If I haven't managed to hit upon this "lesbian theory of evolution" then my curiosity is quite roused and I insist you share.