188

After my psychology lectures, I used to catch the 188 home. I was living in Waterloo – one of the happiest flats I’ve ever lived in.

Coffee with a friend this evening in Holborn; Pret, then My Old Dutch (amazing, massive pancakes – seriously, give it a go). Catch the 188, like stepping back into an old routine. Bright, black London and drizzle.

All those years ago, I bought by copy of Gazanniga at the Waterstone’s on Gower Street (a beautiful bliss of a bookshop – seriously, give it a go). Brief panic when I got home and thought I’d left it on the bus, joy when I found it at the back of my bag. It must have been the second year – when we got our first real biopsychology lectures, and I was desperate to get started. I’d decided the previous year that I had a definite love for neuroscience and I lapped up the lectures and chapters on visual processing, rolling the brilliant new names around my mind – lateral geniculate nucleus; optic chiasma; koinocellular.

I loved brains, knew I wanted to know more, understand more. Remember riding home on the 188, head full of brains – brains that glowed with discrete functional blobs, brains that were really just a wrinkly surface with sketched in functional areas, a hastily drawn map of an unseen archipelago. And riding tonight, on the 188, thinking how crude my concepts were. Riding tonight, on the 188, head full of brains – brains overtopped with interleaved layers, wired throughout to knots of nuclei that speak among themselves and within themselves and out, with neurons like jelly forests, each one a tickertape cacophony of computation. Don’t even get me started on astroglia.

And thinking, brilliantly, wonderfully – how crude my concepts must still be.