This is not a rant. This is anger. This is frustration and violence brewing. This is clenched fists, a tight jaw and rigid body.
This is being pissed off with PTSD.
It doesn’t take much to set me off. It can be something trivial. But that trivial thing becomes one of many trivial things, even if they didn’t all happen today, yesterday or even this year. They are all just too much and they make me snap. They can ruin my whole day, even if it was good.
No, I can’t just brush it off, smile and nod and move on. Like a normal person. I’m sure it’s easy for everyone reading this to already have a solution for me. Some little tidbit of wisdom on how to handle life’s many challenges. Save it. I’ve heard them. They don’t work.
PTSD makes me completely irrational. I cannot be reasoned with. I know all of the therapy cues that are supposed to help me see how ridiculous I’m being. I know I’m wrong. Sometimes I wish I cared.
Ok. That’s wrong. I always care. I always tell my therapists that it’s what I want to fix more than anything else but it’s almost like an addiction. My brain lapses back to irritability and lashing out.
How did I get to this point?
I’d had a good day. An easy morning. My tour of Gettysburg started at 10 am and lasted about 2 hours. It was worth every penny and I left with a much better understanding of the battle. I then rode around and located the marker for the 5th Michigan Infantry Regiment, my 5th great grandfather’s unit. I got a good picture of the front, the back was more difficult.
I got lunch, had a nice conversation with a couple of people and then I was on my way.
Traffic. I have a hunch that I’m going to be in traffic for a long time. Yay for the east coast.
I had my GPS take me towards Valley Forge National park. I figured that I wanted to see that the most and then I’d just leave the Philly area, yes, without seeing the other monuments or historical sites. I just felt like I wanted to get out of here.
As I got closer I searched for campsites. The closest one was 12 miles away. Alright. Well, that’s what I’m looking for I guess. I get to the “campsite” as recommended both by Google and my Harley’s nav. It was not a campground. The park ranger there told me the closest campground was in Delaware. I made him repeat that just so I could confirm that he was an idiot.
After another quick search, there were two KOA’s, both equal distance away at 15 miles. The wrong way. Now I’m pretty irritated. The downward slope has begun.
Several close calls with drivers later and I arrived at a beautiful KOA.
I begin checking in and the lady is demanding an email address. No. I don’t need your spam and you can hand me a receipt. But Sir!…No. Apparently that screws with their check in system. Another lady leans over her shoulder and fixes it.
She then asks me for $60 and change. I tell her she’s on crack. She doesn’t get it and stares blankly. I ask if she charged me for an RV site with full hook ups. She says no. I reiterate that I’m in a tent. On a motorcycle. My footprint is 10 square feet. I’ll even forego a shower. Still no. And then she tells me it’s because we’re north of the Mason Dixon line. I ask in bafflement if she just used a 160 year old civil war demarcation as an excuse for their exorbitant prices. I get more blank stares.
I have nowhere else to go and I’m pissed. I could have stayed in town, in a real bed with a bathroom nearby for a few dollars more. I pay the toll.
She gets in her golf cart and leads me to my site. Camp policy apparently. On a dirt road. Up and down hills. At five miles an hour. On a Harley, that’s a workout, and dangerous. I was getting more and more pissed off. My site has zero privacy. I hope I’m on somewhat level ground because my site is on a slope. And the bathrooms are 1/4 of a mile away. When I get up in the middle of the night because I have to pee, guess where I’m going? The answer is not the bathrooms.
I walked to take a shower and some chick and her husband are sitting outside their trailer. They must have seen me pull up because now she’s making jokes loud enough I can hear. She says “now that he’s gone, let’s get his bike”. She thinks she’s funny. I don’t. I wasn’t in the mood and even if I was, I don’t know her. I told her that if she touched my bike she wouldn’t live to see morning (probably more colorfully than that). Her husband almost said something. Then he didn’t. Smart move. It’s times like this that make me think I’ll probably be in prison at some point. They weren’t there when I came back.
I’m losing the ability to find peace on my bike or in the journey. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong or how to find it again. Is it just that the newness has worn off? I don’t think so. I’m desperate to find that happy place again and I don’t think I can do it on my own.