As usual I catch the 1.58pm Doomben to Central train. In the northern sky heavy clouds, charged with menace as the train clatters into the city. It’s a plangent little trip replete with a menagerie of whistles, sirens, alarms, the crackle of electrical detonations and over the PA regular advice to ‘customers’ (what happened to ‘passengers’?) to not leave personal possessions unattended. The almost empty commuter train passes yards parcelled up with Thomas the Tank type engines, railway paraphernalia, emerging high rise buildings with their signal cranes sporting the ubiquitous CFMEU flag. A fine piece of spray painted portraiture on the underside of a pass-over bridge catches my attention. Looks a bit like Einstein promising entropy and the end of days.  The train’s electric motors and disc brakes whine down into Central’s underground station. I wait for a ramp to be deployed by the guard. No chat today. Passing up into the outside world I’m in a cityscape forest and begin the twenty minute push in my lightweight wheelchair, Passe Par Tout (PPT), to the university pool at Gardens Point. Out of the station, it’s a quite steep, one block downhill run. Waiting at the crest for the traffic lights to go orange. Check to make sure the cars are all slowing to stop, I launch the little buggy forward, weaving in and out of pedestrian traffic riding on the back wheels. It’s not unlike snow skiing through a gaggle of learners and tiny tots. It’s term time and QUT’s campus is seething with micro shorts and other animals. The swim is smooth and easy now having reached a reasonable level of aerobic fitness. A lane all to myself for the forty five or so minutes it takes to swim two K’s. Excellent for ski injured shoulders. Time to head back to the station for the 4.23pm to Doomben. The end of the line. It’s also time for clouds of students finishing their afternoon lectures to head for home so the footpaths are more than usually crowded. The wheelchair must navigate between these dozens of people hoarding the footpath, none of whom have rear view mirrors to see this diminutive parcel looming up behind. Mostly I manage not to ride over any toes and only occasionally bump into a swinging arm. There’s a bank up of students at the lights up ahead all obediently waiting for the green man. Yes, it’s a man. Not a woman. Or a wheelchair, so I frequently disobey this signage if there’s no traffic. Jaywheeler on the loose. I was once advised by an irate police officer this will encourage others to disobey. Many pedestrians are on their phones he said and peripherally see a movement to cross the road so blindly follow. Bad, I’m told. People not unlike sheep. He said. As I frequently ride on the road in my PPT machine I’ve developed a method of notifying drivers of my intentions so there’s absolutely no doubt in the driver’s mind as to what I’m doing. A kind of traffic cop hand signals technique. Works well. Today I squeeze through the student mob waiting at lights at the head of Margaret Street, a nicely steep, one way opportunity for flight, which, when the cars on this road stop for their red light I can launch off into the break in traffic, imagining once again I’m on a ski slope. I wish. The road has two lanes divided by broken white lines. After a few pushes I’m up to speed, maybe twenty five, thirty kliks p/h. I turn around a couple of times to make sure there are no cars coming up behind me and weave between the white lines, imagined slalom gates. I tend not to do this all the time mostly just stick to enjoying the simple pleasure of zooming a straight line past the often surprised gaze of pedestrians who sometimes smile benignly at the crazy bastard in the wheelchair. Towards the end of the block a set of traffic lights means I must slow down. This involves throwing the ‘chair up on the back wheels and squeezing the drive rims to brake, then cruising in to do a left turn onto the footpath. Today a Landcruiser whose driver apparently doesn’t realise it’s a one way street begins to turn into what from his perspective is the left lane. The one I’m not in. The traffic cop in me instinctively seeks to draw attention to his error. This involves taking my right hand from braking duty to wave him away. Wrong move. The wheelchair now has only the left hand doing any braking. In a flash the chair has jagged sharply to the left flipping me into the air. Only one place left to go. Down. I land on the bitumen to the sound of the empty wheelchair scraping on the road and the clatter of my cordless headphones bouncing away. People rush to help. A bus has pulled up in the lane behind me. One bloke righted the ‘chair, a worried looking woman wanted to call an ambulance. I climbed back in. Assuring all I was OK. Someone handed me the headphones. The helpful fellow who’d looked after the ‘chair reckoned I’d ‘lost some bark’. And, true enough - plenty of surprisingly rich red blood was running from a couple of vivid abrasions on my right arm. I felt OK. No broken bones. Thanked everyone for helping and scooted on my way. Had a train to catch. I needed to pick up a script from a chemist just down the road. The pharmacist, who I know from regularly buying my pain drugs there quickly found a dressing and taped up the wound. How I managed to not whack my head on the road I don’t know. Maybe the back pack with my swimming gear afforded protection… Just managed to get back to Central for the 4.23 train. Unfortunately I won’t be able to do my daily swim for at least a week, maybe ten days while my Prednisone* thin skin repairs and leaves me with yet another cicatrice on the body wounded. So much softer falling on snow! Unless you break shit. Which happens too. *Prednisone: a standard hospital issue steroid designed to give strength to recovering patients. I used it for about three months when being treated for an auto immune disease. The thinning of the skin it produces apparently irreversible. Like my passion for speed.