The new normal
I get lost a lot because of my PTSD, even in familiar places. I never know when my sense of direction and memory of where I’ve been and where I’m going will abandon me. I use street maps in my own city and recite the names of the streets I’ll take every time I walk out my door: Liberty, St. Paul’s, Kennedy, Pavonia.
I worry about getting lost when I travel alone. Here in Vineyard Haven, I never leave without a map or cell phone. Yet who would I call if I get lost? I walked out the door this morning and repeated my recitation throughout my four-mile run: Main, Clough, Lake, Pine, Spring…
I saw the shirtless man as I approached Lake Tashmoo. He spoke with a shirted man who then drove off in a pick up truck. I noted the make, model and color in case he was a kidnapper and I encountered him later in my run. Two men, one me, a lonely road in the early morning: the situation triggered my fight-or-flight. Friend or foe? Friend or foe? I repeated as I ran and hoped I wouldn’t forget my string of street names.
The shirtless man called out to me as I returned from my visit to the lake shore. I acknowledged him but kept running; I would listen but not stop. He stood at the end of his driveway and asked if I’d seen a medium grey dog during my run. I saw the worry in his eyes, his hair askew, a young boy near the house entrance holding a leash. I felt badly and said I’d look out for a dog during my run. I meant it, but never saw the dog.
I ran a mix of quiet residential streets and main roads. It was early in the morning, well before seven o’clock, but there were a surprising number of cars on the main roads. I remembered people actually live on Martha’s Vineyard. Drive like your children live here. Those signs are most prevalent on the side streets closer to downtown. Many of the vehicles I saw so early were pick ups and vans. They belonged to contractors on their way to work sites, not organ stealers prowling for lone Puerto Rican female runners. They waved me on and allowed me to cross the street, even when I wasn’t at an official pedestrian crossing.
The line of vehicles waiting to board the car ferry was long. A lot of box trucks, vans, some smaller trailers. I saw the delivery truck for Our Town Markets, the liquor store in Oak Bluffs where I got my stash on Saturday night. It made me happy to know they would be stocked when I biked back to the store.