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26 February 2015 @ 11:39 pm
I knew this would happen  
Twenty years ago come May, I was hit in the head with a taxi and major thoroughfare in quick succession. I broke several bones in my face, scraped off a lot of skin, bruised myself to buggery, broke my hand and a few ribs and cracked some other bits besides.

In a way it was good that I had the broken hand because I had very obviously been in an accident. There were some nice things, like the woman who followed me down a long street until we neared the police station and then gently sought my attention to tell me that I deserved better and that she would come with me to the police if I wanted to make a complaint. I made sure that I told her I thought she was wonderful and brave before I told her I'd been hit by a taxi. I still wish I'd felt up to hugging her.

There was a little girl in the pet shop who lifted up bunnies and kittens for me to pat because they made her feel better and she guessed I needed something cheering. When her mother told her to stop bothering the lady, I confess I may have laid on the 'But it's really helping me, what a lovely child!' a little more thickly than a good person would have.

And there were annoying things, like the shopkeepers who knew me, had known me for ages, recognised that it was me, and yet still treated me as though I was a moron because I couldn't talk fluently and looked bad.

Last Friday, I paid a nice surgeon to hammer out two wisdom teeth and chisel some bone from the roof of my mouth. Since then, I have looked like a lopsided squirrel and had a splendid bruise down one cheek. And I can't talk without gagging on the stitches.

Primed by my earlier experience, I prepared a notebook. It contains multiple useful pages:
* I had an operation on my mouth and cannot talk for a bit.
* It looks worse than it feels, thanks for asking.
* Yes
* No
* Oh For Fuck's Sake!
* Can I put $10 on my Opal Card?
* Ask X, Y, Z (people at work with checkboxes to point to)
* It's very good to see you.
* Can I have a chocolate milk, please?

Armed with those nine pages, I have navigated a surprising percentage of my life, partcularly since going back to work yesterday. This has been helped by hardware changes in my absence, which have allowed me to do a surprising amount of my job with only NO and OH, FFS!

But of course, I occasionally have to talk. And because my left cheek is still swollen and stiff with bruising, and because my tongue cannot hit the roof of my mouth and I don't want to move my lips very much, I sound like a lisping, nasal squirrel impersonator.

Now at work, this is merely a source of comedy. And rightly so. Because it is funny. I'm also still a bit stoned from the general and all the opiates: drugs and I have never mixed well. They know this and were prepared. People laughing is perfectly rational, if cruel ;-)

But four times today other people listened to my lispy squirrel voice and looked at my swollen face and decided 'Oh, you must be stupid!'

Which just shits me. Not because someone thinks *I* am stupid (I'm five feet one and girly looking, people have made that mistake on spurious gender assumptions my whole life) but because it reminds me how needlessly fucking frustrating it must be to permanently have any one of the hundreds of physical conditions that mean you can't talk fluently.

So if this ever happens again (and given my track record, that's not unlikely), I have a new plan. I am going to download a voice synthesiser a la Stephen Hawking (maybe even the same voice) and I am going to program my series of responses, PLUS brief lectures on the mechanics of particle physics*, which I will play while looking at them with touching, swollen sincerity.

That'll learn 'em.

* Cribbed entirely from the work of Professor Hawking (I only 'get' physics up to Marie Curie), who I suspect will grant permission because there are jokes in A Brief History of Time, which means he can find comedy anywhere. Also, on cruising his essays last night when I dreamt up this plan, I found this regular disclaimer:

Note that there may be incorrect spellings, punctuation and/or grammar in this document. This is to allow correct pronunciation and timing by a speech synthesiser.

which is my new favourite example of why appropriately idiosyncratic grammar exists.
cmcmck on February 26th, 2015 12:46 pm (UTC)
My own experience of being bashed about was white van man knocking me off my motorcycle on my way to work.

And I certainly get you on spurious gender assumptions.

blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 26th, 2015 12:52 pm (UTC)
Ever so similar, taxi running red turning arrow while I was cycling home. Ah, the eternal two wheels versus four! Fistbumps in 2-wheel solidarity!

The only good thing about people who make those sorts of assumptions is that you can just automatically discount them rather than wasting time worrying if they have any sort of valid point.

And given I just typed discocunt, I feel that a rational assessment would suggest that I am in no fit state to be on the interntet. Also, I have a new fave typo ;-)
(no subject) - cmcmck on February 26th, 2015 01:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on March 2nd, 2015 11:51 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - enchanted_jae on February 28th, 2015 06:33 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on March 2nd, 2015 07:29 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - azurelunatic on March 1st, 2015 09:42 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on March 2nd, 2015 07:26 am (UTC) (Expand)
AutumnHearti_autumnheart on February 26th, 2015 12:48 pm (UTC)
I like your list of stock phrases. I've had solo days in the office where I could manage with just two ("thankyou" to the bus driver and "skim flat white please" at the coffee shop), but don't think I could handle actual interaction with people on so few.

With regard to physics insertions, you can explain quite a lot with a limited vocabulary: c.f. Up Goer Five http://xkcd.com/1133/...
AutumnHearti_autumnheart on February 26th, 2015 12:50 pm (UTC)
p.s. I hope you feel better soon!
(no subject) - blamebrampton on February 26th, 2015 12:55 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - i_autumnheart on February 26th, 2015 01:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on February 26th, 2015 12:54 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Shivshiv5468 on February 26th, 2015 01:19 pm (UTC)
I had my concussion experience in the back - and then front in rapid succession - of a taxi.

I had it the other way round, with only a slight bump on the head but my brains were fried, I remember looking at the partner asking me a tax question thinking, I dunno. I'm not sure what my name is right now.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 2nd, 2015 07:33 am (UTC)
Yeah, I have to confess that if people had had only nouns to go by then they would have been right to judge me. Bloody taxis, the source of much evil!
Nenne: Take carenenne on February 26th, 2015 02:25 pm (UTC)
Poor you! *pets carefully* Feel better soon.

More or less the exact same experience you get when you move to a foreign country and you can't speak the language properly. Searching for the right words is taken as a sign of a really slow functioning brain. (Oh, the irony of being judged by people who speak only one language for the lack of fluency in your third.)
piratesmile331: bring itpiratesmile331 on February 26th, 2015 03:31 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty sure "Oh, for fuck's sake" would be my go-to card.
κάτι τρέχει στα γύφτικα: deathandthemaiden_inbetween_ on February 26th, 2015 09:26 pm (UTC)
That was a good plan. I've been meaning to photocopy some relevant psych book passages for people who I know will put me down again with "common knowledge" crap, but "tl;dr" and if I copy out just relevant sentences, their proofiness seems less. The Hawking idea of yours would wonderful, but making people stay and listen long enough ... not so much.

He also is a friend of at least one UK stand-up comedian, so of course you're right. And way too accident prone, though maybe you'll end up indestructible at some point. *hands you cocoa*
sassy_cissasassy_cissa on February 27th, 2015 12:39 am (UTC)
People are often morons....

That said, I hope you feel better soon. And it's too bad you can't add "oh do piss off" to your list of phrases. ♥
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 1st, 2015 10:59 pm (UTC)
I rely on hand gestures for that one ;-)

As said below, it's really just a lack of thought, plus freak out. But it bugs me that other people have to live with this reaction all the time. I feel certain some of them are even now walking determinedly while holding up a phone spouting cosmology!
anna_wing on February 27th, 2015 02:38 am (UTC)
I hope that you recover quickly. The "important phrases" notebook is an excellent idea!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 1st, 2015 10:55 pm (UTC)
I'm thinking I should just keep it on my desk: I'll wave a page while writing and get two things done at once!

Had my post op review last Friday, healing well!
germankittygermankitty on February 27th, 2015 03:28 pm (UTC)
Some people make assumptions/snap judgements on the flimsiest of evidence, ie. they see/notice one slight impairment, however temporary, and instead of showing compassion, they get really offensive.

Different scenario, but similar effect: When I was starting my 8th month of pregnancy, my offspring decided Mommy's sciatic nerve would be a nice resting place over the holidays. Not only did I have to live with constant pain for two weeks (late pregnancy and analgesics do NOT mix), I was also limping rather badly. Hubby and I were out shopping one day for the nursery during those two weeks, and two women passed us on the street. The younger took one look at my bump/limp, and told her older companion loudly enough for us to hear every word, "just look at THAT -- handicapped and PREGNANT!" in a way that sounded as if I was committing the most heinous crime against nature/humanity by being pregnant and having a limp.

Even 28 years later, I'm STILL hurt and offended.

So yeah, I feel your anger and pain. *hugs*
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 1st, 2015 10:54 pm (UTC)
Oh how utterly crap! And that would have been well beyond the recuperative powers of a heat pack, you poor darling! As to the rude stranger, good grief! What does she imagine happens? Clearly all limpy folk should take it as a sign and join a monastic community. Ridiculous!
(no subject) - germankitty on March 2nd, 2015 06:59 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on March 2nd, 2015 11:38 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - germankitty on March 2nd, 2015 12:37 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Tarataradiane on February 28th, 2015 03:37 am (UTC)
I am going to download a voice synthesiser a la Stephen Hawking (maybe even the same voice) and I am going to program my series of responses, PLUS brief lectures on the mechanics of particle physics*, which I will play while looking at them with touching, swollen sincerity.

On a scale of 1-10, how bad is it that I almost want you to deal with this again just so THAT can happen?
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 1st, 2015 10:49 pm (UTC)
Anyone else: 8. Me, more like 3.6 because you know it's ever so likely to happen anyway :-)
Jaeenchanted_jae on February 28th, 2015 06:31 am (UTC)
People are daft and thoughtless.

blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 1st, 2015 10:47 pm (UTC)
Yes, I think that's right. It is confronting to have a woman with squirrel cheeks waving a notebook at you and lisping something, but I feel they ought to try rising to the challenge rather than resorting to patronage. Still, I suppose they're just following the lead of our frontbench who treat all of us like that.
(Deleted comment)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 1st, 2015 10:44 pm (UTC)
I think we have one ;-)

Most are just spooked, but I suppose there probably are a few who voted for Tony Abbot, which is just unconscionable.
Azure Jane Lunaticazurelunatic on March 1st, 2015 09:41 pm (UTC)
Ugh! Why must people be terrible?
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 1st, 2015 10:41 pm (UTC)
To be fair, I think they're mostly just scared of saying or doing the wrong thing, which can sometimes look the same. But that will all changed once they've been chased by a mad woman waving lectures at them!
Haroldfiddlingfrog on March 2nd, 2015 03:46 am (UTC)
who I suspect will grant permission because there are jokes in A Brief History of Time, which means he can find comedy anywhere.

If you haven't heard it yet, the Nerdist podcast just had a great episode where they were talking to Brian Cox & Eric Idle at the same time. One of the things they discussed was the time they got Stephen Hawking to record a joke for the Monty Python reunion tour. It's about an hour in, if you just want to listen to that bit.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 2nd, 2015 11:50 am (UTC)
In a weird coincidence, we had a blackout yesterday and when the power came back on, we decided to watch a show we had no plan to watch, simply because it caught our eye as we were checking the TV. It was the Monty Python doco about their reunion shows and it showed them convincing Stephen and filming the skit! SPOOKY!

Have you had any thoughts on lottery numbers?
(no subject) - fiddlingfrog on March 2nd, 2015 08:52 pm (UTC) (Expand)