Break for freedom – Day 10 (The bullet)

Day 10 – Sunday, August 20, 2017 (The bullet)

7:51 a.m. – Back home from my walk. I looked up around 6:40-something this morning and said: “I want to go out.” In short order, out I went into the early morning cool.

I did not get as sweat-soaked today. I think (I don’t want to say this too loudly) I may be beginning to carve away power from fear. If you happen to bump into fear at a social event, please don’t let on. Fear is quite the control freak, any sign that someone is breaking free of its grasp makes it angry.

For whatever reason, perhaps because this is the month I got shot, I found myself thinking of the bullet lodged in the frontal lobe of my brain during the walk. The brain has no nerve endings, so I don’t feel it. If I were to identify one disappointment linked to its presence, it would be this; I don’t set off airport alarms. I had plans of approaching an airport metal detector and bowing my head forward so it would be the first to thing enter its realm. My thought was, the bullet will set the alarm off, the inspector will point at my head and ask, “So whattaya got in there?” and I’ll respond, “You’re never gonna believe this.” But, alas, these detectors don’t detect lead.

The bullet has been part of my being for most of my life now, 33 years the 24th of this month. It has done its damage, and no doubt plays a role in my life, to some degree. It has its limitations. Name one, you ask? Sure. It couldn’t stop me from taking my morning walk today.

KahrmannHeadXray2.jpg

************

For James Scott “Jim” Brady aka Bear

Break for Freedom – Day 7 (Measured fury)

Day 7 – August 17, 2017 (Measured fury)

8:01 a.m. – Back home after my walk.

I have mixed feelings about allowing myself much credit for completing this morning’s walk. It was easier than the others because it was fueled by a measured fury, a fury that was part of every stride, every movement.

Where does the fury come from? My father and uncle and many of my friend’s fathers and uncles fought in World War II against the Nazis. My father was in the 20th Armored Division, one of three divisions that liberated the Dachau Concentration Camp. The president of my country is the Nazi’s ally. He an ally of White Nationalists, and he is an ally of the KKK. When I hear some talking heads ask each other why the president is behaving like this. I want to snatch them up by the nape of the neck and, in a loud voice, say: “You guys just graduate the Rhetorical Questions Workshop? Because he is a racist! Because he is a Nazi! Wake the fuck up!”

I did the uphill walk again today. It was no match for me. Let me right-size that. It was no match for fury.

Break for Freedom – Day 6 (My Dad’s day)

Day 6 – August 16, 2017 (My Dad’s day)

Back home 8:22 a.m. – A different day, in large part because today marks 48 years since my father, Sanford Cleveland Kahrmann, died. My father was and is the greatest gift my life has given me. Today’s walk, a truly sweet-morning mist in the air, was kind of magical. I reversed the walk starting yesterday so there is a nice uphill stretch, the soft-pain in my thighs from pushing the pace a welcome event.

As I was getting close to home, I remembered that 48 years ago, my father was alive in the morning. He was pronounced dead at 1:43 p.m. in St. Luke’s Hospital in New York City. Peritonitis took his life. The day he died, the world, for me, became a dangerous place to be. He was only 55. He was also my best friend.

I love you, Dad, my whole wide world. As Bob Dylan wrote: “And if there is eternity, I’ll love you there again.”

No power on earth could have stopped me from walking today.

*********************

For my father, Sanford Cleveland Kahrmann, (Feb. 20, 1914 – Aug. 16, 1969).

Break for Freedom – Day 5 (Puddle jumping)

Day 5 – August 15, 2017 (Puddle jumping)

6:20 a.m. – It is raining. A steady rain. When I was a boy I couldn’t wait to go outside and play in the rain. Jump-stomping into the biggest puddle I could find was as much fun as a roller coaster. While my hands tremble a bit while I tap away here, I am smiling. Puddle jumping was a blast.

About hands trembling. It’s fear. Free floating anxiety some call it. Right. Fear.  Like some of you, I have a relationship with the fear, with the PTSD, with the agoraphobia, with, in my case, a brain injury. The bad news is, these things are present. The good news  is — and I’m dead serious — the good news is, you have a say in your relationship with them. The challenge is relieving these demons of their decision-making power.

Consider this for a moment. The rain is beautiful. It’s sound, the angle of its fall. Why should any demon gets much decision-making power it stops me from walking in the rain? Important to remember. On the days you can’t get out, it does not mean you’re weak, nor does it mean, you failed. It means these demons are no-nonsense tough opponents. Nothing more, nothing less.

7:10 a.m. – I’m out the door.

9:24 a.m. – The walk, followed by a trip to the store, is over. I am glad I am alive. Yes, another drenched shirt, but that’s okay; I’ve got a fresh cup of coffee.

 

Break for Freedom – Day 3 (Spaghetti Squash)

Day 3 – Sunday, August 13, 2017

7:26 a.m. – Ugly morning. First awake moments loaded with all kinds of discomfort, emotional, physical antsiness.  You don’t plan a day’s first moments; you live them.

In the shower, a few minutes ago, I realized the isolation has separated me from my body. This new awareness, I am pleased to report, riles me up, makes it far more likely I’m getting out the door this morning. I cannot shake the images of violence from the White Nationalist/KKK/Nazi march in Charlottesville, Virginia yesterday. I’m sure Donald Trump’s response-statement further secured his white-racist voting bloc.  If the man ever walks in front of my car I am not going to let my dislike for him have so much decision-making power it makes me to forget the brake-pedal is on the right.

8:47 a.m. – Home. God, what a beautiful word. I walked the same distance, again, without the armor of dog, walking stick, music, pepper spray.

It felt cool out. Three minutes in, I am soaked through and unable to tell if I am actually cold or not. A mishap of sorts from yesterday has me burst into laughter a few times, and that helped. I recently got on Instant Pot, a kind of pressure cooker. My friend, Annie, had suggested it as a help for someone like me whose patience mirrors the size of a gnat when it comes to preparing meals. I thought I’d begin with Spaghetti Squash.

I cut the squash in half, put some water in my new pressure cooker, saw it was set for 10 minutes, and on it went. I suppose the best way to let you know the outcome is to give you a paraphrasing of the conversation I had with Annie afterwards. I called her in Hawaii.

  • Hey, Annie. I just wanted to thank you for the Instant Pot idea. It’s great.
  • I’m so glad.
  • I had spaghetti squash!
  • Wonderful! How was it?
  • Drank it through a straw.
  • You drank – How much water did you use?
  • About three and a half cups.
  • Oh my God!
  • Too much?
  • (Laughing) Peter, maybe three-quarters of a cup.
  • I drank both halves.

Anyway, Day 3s’ walk is under my belt, next to the spaghetti squash.