Parking sucks on a sunny day

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It’s perfect riding weather. There’s no fog. The temperature is in the 60s. The sky is blue and the sun bright. But I’m not riding. The plan was to try my brake lever to see if I could squeeze it without pain. And even if it hurt, I would have still gotten on and ridden.

But then I thought about parking. I had to head downtown for therapy and wanted to stop at a couple other places, which would have required moving the bike at least once. Then there is what’s available, which on a day like today is little except 80 cent per hour parking. To drivers that might not seem like much. But for a motorcyclist who can usually find free or 30 cent parking in downtown San Francisco, I might as well take the bus. Besides, then I can get a drink. And today I could use one.

Therapists had warned me about being re-traumatized. It can happen by recounting traumatic experiences or experiencing new traumas. The fight with a family member last week ruined whatever progress I had made. I am back to being hypervigilant, losing patience trying to understand what people say, and living in my head.

It helps going to familiar “safe” places to gauge one’s own PTSD condition. This morning I went to the VA hospital farmer’s market. The market is next to the motorcycle parking area, and sometimes I like talking to riders who are almost always veterans with PTSD. But today, I didn’t want to meet anyone new or talk. I wanted to find someone familiar and simply share our presence of being. So, I stood by a vendor named Omen, who sells hummus and tapenade. He knows I have PTSD, and seemed to be aware I was having a hard day. He offered samples and didn’t say anything else. It was what I needed.

On difficult days, the PTSD mind does not want to listen. It’s too much work and is exhausting. Silence and just being there in body is more supportive than trying to give words of encouragement.

Thank God today is therapy day. Somewhere I can break down.

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