Zombies

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We all know that zombies love to eat brains, right? Well, here’s a fun fact about zombies and brain injury: People with brain injury like zombies.

It’s not because we folks with injured brains are less likely to be attacked by zombies. I’m sure they don’t judge their prey by the whether there are some scars on the brain or not. It’s just that people with brain injuries have interests besides brain injury, and that includes a healthy, vibrant interest in zombies!

The other day, the film crew went to meet Kris Haas, one of our local featured artists. I have an enormous need to have things planned out (though I don’t plan well at all). And then things should go exactly according to whatever plan I did mean to make. So I really, really get uncomfortable when things happen in the wrong order, at the wrong time, or just plain differently than I hope them to. I put on my smiley face and pretend to roll with it if I’m out in public and want to make a good impression. But I’m a very unhappy lady.

So we went to meet Kris. And I thought we would talk about the following: brain injury, art, and documentary about artists with brain injury. It didn’t have to be in that order exactly. But I truly had no understanding that there might be other things to talk about the first time Kris was meeting the film crew. I just could not imagine anyone would want to talk about anything else. Maybe cats, since those are pretty cool and Kris has two and I have two. But even that might be incidental.

Well, Kris and half the film crew fell into the most detailed conversation about zombies that I’ve ever been part of. I’ll admit, I was totally not part of it. I sat still on the sofa, plastered an obviously fake smile on my face, and at regular intervals looked up and smiled at folks with the eye contact I understand you are supposed to make during conversation. I really wasn’t listening; I was so completely disturbed that we had gotten off topic.

But later I realized there was a tiny part of me that was engaged with the group even though I had nothing to say. The part that was engaged was the part that appreciates that people with brain injury are people who want to talk about whatever they want to talk about. It’s sort of a cultural norm when there’s a person with brain injury in the room that you talk about how, when, where, what time it happened, what kind of injury, did you have a helmet, did you go to the hospital, what’s it like now. And although Kris and I do love to tell and to hear those stories, what ever happened to sitting around talking about good old fashioned zombies?

So thank you, Kris, Esteban and Cynthia for showing me a little slice of life outside my tiny brain injury bubble. I think I was getting a little too earnest, trying to make sure that the first meeting went well and that everyone stayed on the topic of brain injury art. It went well, and we didn’t stay on topic. And I will admit, that’s probably part of why it went well. Now, all this talk of zombies has made me hungry.