6.39 Personality Changes

Waiting at the gate to board an airplane last week, a father carrying his young son walked in front of me. I followed them with my eyes as they stopped by the floor to ceiling windows that ran across the entire waiting area. They were watching the airplanes taking off and landing in the distance. The boy was cradled in his father's arms, nestled right into the space between his chin and shoulder. He had his eyes closed, but his small hand slowly stroked the back of his father's neck, as though he was comforting him. A barely imperceptible movement, one that was just for the two of them, but which I witnessed. I watched the two of them until the airline representatives made the pre-boarding announcement. They walked over to their wife/mother and daughter/sister commandeering a few seats in the corner of the waiting area. This kind of thing has been happening for the past few weeks, ever since the car accident where I suffered a concussion. According to the 'symptoms from concussions' fun fact sheet given to me by my doctor, these two symptoms stood out and started to make more sense as the past few weeks have progressed: "psychological adjustment problems" and "personality changes." I've noticed that these small moments kept happening where I saw something, usually something that I might not have noticed before, and I just became transfixed and at times all emotionally choked up.

Leaving my office at Queen Street and Spadina Avenue, I came across two street performers. One played the didgeridoo and guitar, the other played the drums. Stopped in my tracks, I went into a trance, I felt the didgeridoo and the drum beats in my bones, or at least that was what it felt like. Those two performers possessed some kind of special gift where they carved out your insides and replaced them with tone, with notes, with the feeling like something somewhere was beginning again. I dug into my pockets and threw whatever change I had in my pockets into their open guitar case.

On my way home that same day, I cut through Trinity Bellwoods park and came across a group of elderly Chinese women practicing Tai Chi. I hoped they didn't mind that once again I stopped in my tracks and just watched them. Watched their fluid movements, their bodies at once relaxed but moving with strength and intention. What struck me most was their eyes and the way they seemed to be both focused on one thing, yet seeing everything around them. I wanted to join them, but something stopped me.

It's this last thought that I find interesting. I don't know if my personality has actually changed that drastically, I mean, I was somewhat of a sensitive person before the concussion. I don't necessarily think this is a bad thing, this noticing of small details that I would've walked right by beforehand, this notion of being affected by these moments. I wonder how long it will last? I wonder if slowly I will start not seeing these things, not take the time to stop and just let something so seemingly small wash over me? How do you hold on to this noticing of the details? What if a personality change actually did occur, and I don't want it to go away?

It's also having the opposite effect to getting all choked up. I'm actually laughing more, like laughing out loud, especially when I'm alone. After we boarded the airplane, the pilot made an announcement, "We apologize for taking off late. We do have a tailwind with us for our trip back to Toronto and we're going to fly this plane like we stole it." Man, this killed me, like absolutely slayed me. People were turning around in their seats because I was laughing so hard. Sure, arguably, when I wrote this down, it wasn't that funny, but in the moment, it was one of the funniest things I'd ever heard. Maybe you had to be there.

My favorite moment so far had to have been when I was waiting for a bus. This older man entered the bus shelter and stood opposite me. It was cold that night and he took a big thick scarf from his backpack. He started wrapping it around the top of his head and under his chin like from an old movie or cartoon when someone had a toothache. But, this was the longest scarf I'd ever seen and he kept wrapping and wrapping and wrapping. It was like a magicians scarf - one that never ended. And the entire time he was doing this, he just kept staring at me. As soon as he was done wrapping the longest scarf around his head, the bus pulled around the corner and I lost my shit. I started laughing, he turned to see what I was laughing about and he started laughing and we both stepped on the bus laughing. I went to sit in the back and he stopped to sit down on a seat halfway into the bus. He turned to look at me and started unwrapping the scarf. The exact same thing happened but in reverse. I was dying.

So, yeah, maybe I've had a personality change, but so far, it's not so bad.