Source: I stole it from this post, which in turn cobbled it together from random (but appropriately licensed) internet images.

It seems like just yesterday I was switching subsidiary companies at my resident multinational conglomerate, trading in my gig in enterprise business software for something more acutely interesting to me: surgical robotics.

And the three+ intervening years have been not only a grand ole time, but also marked a clear shift in what I actually do at work. The last time I wrote a post like this, my main job was building the things other people told me to build. Over time, I became the person who decides what to build and how to build it,* and I've learned quite a bit in that process: how to build big (and hopefully useful) systems, how to lead teams and (again, hopefully) not have them hate you, and a whole bunch of more specific things (working with a variety of cloud platforms, building protocols for embedded devices, working with teams across timezones, etc).

I wouldn't consider myself a particularly career-oriented person,** but if you spend 40+ hours a week — 35% of your waking hours — doing anything, you kind of have a vested interest in doing it well. Or at least in a way that doesn't make you hate doing it. And from that perspective I'm happy with the way my role has changed over time.

Anyway, by now you can probably see where this post is going: I've thrown all of that away and I'm joining a small startup.

But Why?

A great question, with a decidedly less good answer: I have no idea. I've found a bunch of different ways to rationalize why the change makes sense, but at the end of the day, I left a job that I really enjoyed, with a great team and clear growth opportunities, for something a bit more nebulous (and took a significant pay cut in the process). And it's not even like the new job is "building automated prosthetic limbs for orphans" or "systems for cheaply purifying water in low-income nations" or something similarly altruistic sounding to throw around at cocktail parties: it's more or less your standard Silicon Valley (or Silicon Valley) fare.

An Array of Rationalizations

Here's the current list of ways I've attempted to justify why I joined a new company, in literally no order whatsoever.

Risk vs Reward

Pretty much every decision we make is about trade-offs, and how we weigh the different pros and cons is fundamental to who we are as people. One parameter I'm constantly tweaking is how much risk I'm willing to take in different areas of my own life. Naturally, finance is a big one, and I've traditionally played that one fairly safe - investing almost exclusively in low-cost index funds, with the occasional real estate purchase just to showcase how little of a plan I actually have. But as time goes on and I've built up a bit of a financial safety net, I'm more willing to take on more risk (e.g. by joining a startup), theoretically with a corresponding increase in reward, which leads us to my next rationalization.

An Alignment of Incentives

One thing that I find attractive about the new opportunity is that I have a not-insignificant stake in the company. Further, the work that I do (or don't do) has a real effect on the success or failure of the company as a whole, which dictates if that equity ends up actually being worth anything.

Now, as always, money isn't particularly motivating to me (beyond what I need to Not Die™), since I'm not eager to buy anything except my own financial independence. But (also as always), money confers flexibility, and even if I don't personally want to do anything with money, I can always give it to organizations that can use it to generate some happiness in the world.

"Market Research"

I think the worst time to start looking for a job is when you're unhappy with your current one, or worse, when you've just lost it. Similar to not going grocery shopping when you're hungry, I think it's much easier to objectively evaluate an opportunity when you have a happy baseline to compare it to. As such, over the 5+ years I spent at my last company, I interviewed with 10-15 different places: doing interviews, getting offers, negotiating, and ultimately, rejecting those offers. I always explained to companies upfront that I was happy with my current role, but also that I was open to exploring (and perhaps taking) a new opportunity if I thought it was a good fit.

While I advocate this practice to everyone, I think it's especially useful in software engineering, where interviews frequently bear little resemblance to what you're actually doing on a day-to-day basis. Skills like "whiteboard coding" and "answering contrived and artificially constrained new grad Computer Science questions" just aren't things one will be good at without a bit of exposure beforehand. Similarly, negotiating is a tricky and fraught endeavor with uneven power dynamics, so it helps to train that muscle as well.

Anyway, this is all to say that of all the companies I interviewed with, this latest one was the first where the full picture of the opportunity was enough to make me consider leaving my previous team. I mean that's a given now, since I did leave my previous team, but you get the idea.

Worst Case Scenario

Whenever I'm trying to evaluate a tough choice, I pretend I'm trying to help someone else evaluate the choice, and then I walk myself through the advice I'd give to them (read: me). In this case, I came up with something along the lines of:

In the worst case scenario: the company is unsuccessful and folds, perhaps in a dramatic fashion featuring (metaphorical) explosions. To really underscore this worst case scenario, let's even assume that the company folded as a direct result of your own personal and/or professional incompetence. In this scenario, you just go grovelling back to your previous team (who has already said they'd happily take you back), or some other well-established company. You have the safety net to handle a bout of unemployment with fairly little fuss.

From that perspective, why not give it a go?

Learnin'

Aside from an income (and thus, to belabor the point here, Not Dying™), the thing I'm probably looking for most out of a job is the ability to learn and grow. And while there was still plenty to learn in my previous job, I'd kind of settled into a rhythm with each new project, so while the number of projects was increasing, the actual shape of them was substantially similar.

Aside from working in a new domain (video compression), I'm also working with new requirements, new sets of trade-offs, and new cloud providers. At my previous company, I'd often heard that the process of joining and ramping up was like "drinking from a firehose" because of the sheer amount of stuff you take in over the course of the first few weeks. I've definitely had that sensation all over again at the new job, which I consider a success.

Codin'

As I took on more organizational responsibilities on my previous team (leading meetings, answering emails, ramping up other engineers, etc), I had correspondingly less time to actually build stuff myself. For a while, it was easy for me to rationalize this as "but I'm helping other people be productive, so the net result is far larger than anything I could produce on my own", but after a point, I just (perhaps selfishly) wanted to build the darn thing myself.

In my first month at the new gig, I wrote vastly more code than I had in the previous year at my last job. The small size of the company means everyone has their own well-defined niche, which means there's far less coordination overhead, which means I more or less spend 8 hours a day heads down in a world of my own. This will (theoretically) change over time as the company (hopefully) grows and scales things up, at which point I'll start to take on more of my old duties, but I'm quite enjoying the current state of things.

But More Realistically...

Like I said before, I think all of the above is just me conveniently retrofitting reasons onto a decision I don't fully understand. Realistically, I might have just gotten bored of staring at the same four walls every day, which provides far less dynamism than I'm used to. Through that lens, switching jobs might just have been a subconscious way to rebel against that and shake things up a bit. Who knows?

What about the Truck?

One thing that I've tiptoed around for years is where I actually worked, going so far as to scrub the name from my earlier posts. That said, I never did a particularly good job of this, and it's pretty obvious to anyone paying attention that I worked at Google.

My main motivation for not advertising it so loudly was to avoid the impression that I was profiting off the name of my employer, and to avoid (erhm, further) conversations with HR. I've mentioned before that I actually lose money running this blog,*** since I haven't monetized it at all. But still, appearances and whatnot.

Anyway, this is all to say: a lot of my initial truckliness was predicated on access to the resources I had at Google: food, gyms, bathrooms, etc. Hell, I was even keeping the truck "discreetly" tucked away in the back of an unused Google parking lot since the pandemic began.

But now I've gone and messed that up by quitting, which opens up a whole host of messy questions and logistics for me to figure out. Things like "where do I keep the truck?", or even more existential, "do I keep the truck at all?"

My current plan, which I reserve the right to toss out and start from scratch, is:

  1. Store the truck somewhere for the remaining, interminable duration of the pandemic, then
  2. Attempt an even more stripped-down truck life than before.

In fact, I've already gone ahead and done #1, though I expect it'll be some number of months before I can start to actuate on #2, working remotely from a truck being a bit difficult and all that.

Everything Else

Naturally, leaving the safety and comfort of Google has broader implications for my life and plans. Things like financial independence/early retirement, longer-term truckin' stuff, and my ideas on what I'm looking for in different parts of my life are all subject to change. I've got half-baked thoughts on all those things that I'll probably turn into 65%-baked thoughts before I plop them onto my little corner of the internet.

*More of a focus on the "how to build it" part. Choosing which products to build was always outside of my realm (as it should be), but I had a lot more discretion to choose what got built in terms of systems to power a given product.

**Plus, with any luck, my 'career' will be shorter than usual. Early retirement/financial independence ambitions and whatnot.

***An extremely modest amount of money, like "avocado toast and a latte once a month" kind of money. An ongoing blog rewrite will (at least in theory) make it even cheaper to run.


Source: The album cover of Happiness, by Dance Gavin Dance.

An Obnoxiously Long-Winded Intro

I'm a firm believer that human consciousness is a huge cosmic accident. Kinda like Matthew McConaughey's monologue from that one scene in True Detective. Except far, far less cynical, and maybe without the part about humans choosing to voluntarily go extinct. Great scene though, great scene.

More to the point: not only do people exist, but we're painfully aware of our own existence as somewhat autonomous entities. We aren't particularly amenable to going through mechanical, preprogrammed motions as effectively as say, an ant. We get bored easily. To keep ourselves entertained, we ascribe higher meaning to things and give ourselves purpose.

A lot of times, this purpose isn't something that we call out explicitly, it's just something that happens. Things like "be good at my job" or "provide for my family". When our purpose isn't clear or we don't think we can carry it out, sometimes we'll just straight up die. Fragile things, we are.

All of this in mind, my personal feeling is that it's a good idea to take a more active interest in the Purpose Picking Process™, as it's a key part of Not Dying™. I'm talking about taking the time, doing the soul-searching, and really figuring out what you think it is that makes you tick.

I know, I know, that's an obnoxiously long-winded intro, but I swear I'm going somewhere with this. This post is about what makes me tick, the idea being that I can use that to structure my life and evaluate my actions and all that jazz.

Tick, tock

One day, you opened up your eyes
Inside of you
Inside a world
Inside a universe
You didn't get to choose

You didn't get to pick the rules
Or pick the past
Or set the pace
Or cast the cast and crew
You didn't get to pick your starting place

And though it was a race
You didn't understand
You simply lined up on the blocks
And when the pistol popped
You ran.

—Watsky, Talking to Myself

Aside from just being an all-around solid piece of prose poetry, I think this lyric nicely sums up the overarching sense of purpose I've picked for myself.

Because the fact of the matter is that we don't get to choose where we're born, or even that we're born at all. We pop into existence entirely of someone else's accord. We take whatever hand the universe has dealt for us. And we do our darnedest.

And statistically speaking, a lot of people are dealt truly terrible hands. Which isn't to say life is a cakewalk for everyone else. Even if you were dealt a halfway decent hand, by being born relatively healthy in a relatively wealthy nation for instance, life still has its fair share of hardships. And they have a curious habit of all piling on at the least convenient times.

The Thesis

So, in summary: nobody chose to be here, and everyone is doing what they can and working with what they've got. When we interact with people, we have quite a bit of control over how we affect their happiness. The least we can do is to not take some away. My goal is to maybe sometimes even add some more, using the relative autonomy granted to me. That's my sincere belief: happiness is not a zero-sum game, you can add happiness without taking it from somewhere else.

Why Happiness

I don't think happiness is the be-all, end-all of human emotion. Our brains are capable of a bewildering range of complex and nuanced emotion, and I think it's up to everyone to figure out the combination and balance of brain-chemicals that works for them, and to figure out how to get their brain to produce them. Having said that, happiness still has some universal appeal, and it's usually one of the easier-to-invoke emotions in other people, even in fairly fleeting interactions.

Why People

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'm very much an introvert. In a pre-COVID world, I'd regularly go weeks at a time without actively seeking any social engagement outside of work. And from that frame of reference, it seems strange even to myself that I should make my overarching purpose related to other people at all. Why not make it about building the best blog? Or being wickedly strong?

I'm not sure if I have a great answer for this, but if I had to pick one, it'd go something like this: Nobody is an island. No one exists in a vacuum, even though some of us might wish that we did from time to time. Doing literally anything of sufficient scale will always require working with other people, because no matter how good you are at something, a big group of people will always be able to get more done. You're 10x better than the average person? Cool, a group of 11 people can do it better. That's just math.

So I think it makes sense to structure my core beliefs around how I deal with people.

A Decently Succinct Outro

So that's that. I've hitched my identity to "hopefully not making others more miserable". Future Truck Tenets posts will ostensibly talk about what that means. Hopefully in less abstract, more tangible ways.


Source: I'm aware this is an image of a person hula hooping, but abstract illustrations of rubber bands are apparently hard to come by.

A Cry for Help

Several eons ago, when quarantine started, a younger and slightly more naive Brandon entered quarantine with a bike, a yoga mat, and a well-intentioned (but ultimately wrong) hope that this wouldn't last more than a few weeks.

And the biking/yoga combo (boga? yiking?) served its purpose well, but as the days and weeks wore on, it became increasingly clear that it wouldn't be enough. I was still shedding weight, and while my lower body was in fine shape, my upper body had become soft and sad from a clear lack of stimulation. Not quite "Christian Bale in The Machinist" bad, but bad enough that multiple people independently pointed out that I looked much smaller, in an "I'm worried about you, is this a cry for help?" kind of way. Worse, I could feel that I was physically weaker.*

Me a few weeks ago.
I was originally going to put an image of Christian Bale from The Machinist here, but all the images I found were slightly too grotesque for my taste. If you're unfamiliar with the film and curious of what I'm talking about, you can search for the film at your own risk.
From what I remember, it's a weird one.

Re-inflation

Like most people, I didn't enjoy the prospect of being a deflated shell of my former self, but it didn't seem like there were a lot of options. An at-home power rack would have been ideal, but not particularly practical when I was house-hopping. Even now that I've settled into a place (for the time being), Bay Area apartments aren't known for being overly spacious. A gym would also work, but they've been about as consistent as federal guidance on mask wearing. That is to say: I can't really rely on gyms to be open just yet.

And just when I thought all hope was lost, something happened — a reader (thanks Christoph!) reached out and suggested I try resistance bands, noting that they had started using them as an alternative to traditional in-gym strength training when quarantine started.

To say I was skeptical would be an understatement. In my mind, resistance bands were for the injured, the elderly, and apparently also my mother, who doesn't really fit into either of those categories. From my perspective, they certainly weren't for folks serious about strength training. Strength training required Large Metal Structures™ and Plates™ and Grunting™ and Angry Faces™ and Toxic Masculinity™, not GiAnT StReTcHy BaNdS.

But after a few emails back and forth, Christoph had convinced me otherwise. He showed me some videos showcasing resistance band variants of all the usual strength training staples: military press, bench press, squat, and deadlift. So I bit the bullet, and ordered a set of resistance bands.

An Adjustment Period

I've said it before and I'll surely say it again: I am a creature of habit. I've been doing more or less the same workout routine for nearly a decade at this point. And from that perspective, switching things up naturally required a bit of adjustment.

For starters, I'm used to calculating out the weight for each set down to 5 pound increments, meaning I'm shuffling comically small 2.5 pound plates on and off the bar. Resistance bands don't operate that way. There's not really the concept of weight. Instead, there's a similar (but much fuzzier) concept, resistance. You choose resistance by selecting a band (Extra Light, Light, Medium, Heavy, Extra Heavy), and sometimes by where you grip the band (closer to the anchor point == more resistance). Instead of moving the weight, the focus is on getting a peak contraction, i.e. doing the exercise through the full range of motion with proper form and focusing on muscle engagement.

And that's all well and fine, but it doesn't appeal to the more mathematically inclined part of me, the part that wants to empirically measure my progress. Spit-balling the resistance per set means I can vary things as I go, which is nice, but it also means the quality of my workout is subject to how willing I am to grab the bands in a way to maximize resistance. I'm a person who firmly believes that human motivation and willpower are flaky and fleeting constructs that shouldn't be relied on, and instead, one's environment should be set up to make achieving the desired outcome easier. As such, putting the onus of a hard workout on myself instead of baking it into the pre-calculated weights didn't sit well with me.

My strategy has been to institute rough guidelines for myself ahead of time, like "for the second set, grab lower on the band than on the first set", or "use the Medium band for the first set, then use the Heavy band for the next set". These get written down in a shorthand notation in my workout log in the same way I used to write down weights per set in a pre-COVID world. It's not quite the same as my old barbell routine, but it adds a nice set of guardrails to keep me honest.

This past week's band workouts.

In a Routine

At this point, I've been doing resistance band workouts five days per week for about six weeks, each workout being about 45 minutes to an hour depending on how much I'm dilly dallying. The bands I purchased came with a seven day trial of a three month, strength-training-focused fitness program. I used this trial period to take diligent notes on the whole three month training program, which I've saved on my phone and refer to for each workout.

As for the routine itself, I've actually been pretty happy with it. I try to minimize the rest time between sets to make it a little more cardiovascular-ly stimulating, and I end each workout feeling appropriately tired/pumped. I'm sore in all the right ways and places again, and I'm even sore in some new places. There's more volume (e.g. repetitions) than I'm used to, which makes sense since you can't really match the weight of traditional strength training without putting a dangerous amount of energy into the band, which could snap back and really do some damage.

Speaking of damage, the bands also have this fun quality where they will rip the skin clean off your hands. This also makes sense. Unlike barbell/dumbbell exercises where the weight is distributed evenly across your hands, with resistance bands, most the resistance is applied at the sides of your hands. On my second or third day of using the bands, I accidentally tore small chunks out of each hand between my thumb and index finger. I ordered gloves that day, and wrapped my hands in band-aids and ACE bandages for the few intervening days. It took weeks to heal properly and I'm in no hurry to make that mistake again.

Other Benefits

Aside from guiding me back to my old size and shape, the bands have given me one other much appreciated benefit: an easy way of exercising on the go. This is a tool that has been notably and painfully absent from my exercise arsenal in the past, and was especially apparent to me when I was traveling a lot for work/play/my ongoing real estate adventures. On work trips, I'd usually go to the hotel gym, get in a light jog, and do dumbbell-toting free-form jazz. This rarely felt fulfilling, but was the best I could figure out how to do. When I returned from a trip, my first few workouts always left me much, much more sore than usual, indicating that those hotel workouts hadn't really done much for me.

The bands are small and light enough that I can take the whole kit and caboodle with me when I'm out and about, meaning no more hotel free-form dumbell jazz, and more consistent adherence to my routine.

At first, the idea of resistance bands really seemed like a stretch, but now that I've snapped into a routine, I can honestly say that I'm elastic ecstatic about having found a viable at-home alternative to barbell strength training.**

*Pickle jars loomed menacingly in the shadowy corners of my nightmares.

**All puns absolutely intended.


Source: The image is especially low-effort today, because I just searched 'decisions' on the icon site I have a subscription to.
Still seemed better than leaving it barren and image-less.

Truck Tenets is a series I've been wanting to do for a while. Like, a while — I've got draft posts dating back to 2016. It's only by my sheer inability to see anything through to completion that none of them have seen the light of day…until now.

The idea behind the series is pretty straightforward: there are ideas that I live my life by, why not talk about them? Some are high-level and abstract, like "Less is more", and others are more concrete, like "Don't eat gas station sushi in land-locked countries"*. Some of them come directly from my experiences with the truck, and others just as a matter of living and doing Normal Human Things™.

Talking about these things isn't particularly new for me. Even when I'm not talking directly about what I believe in, the ideas that motivate my decisions are there, lurking in pithy asides and footnotes and implied subtexts.

I'm not going to pretend that the concept of having 'guiding principles' is even remotely novel or exciting, it comes up in one form or another in pretty much every one of the self-help-life-hack-be-better books I've ever read. Some examples:

From Atomic Habits:

Your behaviors are usually a reflection of your identity. What you do is an indication of the type of person you believe that you are—either consciously or nonconsciously.

From Getting Things Done:

Priorities should drive your choices [...]. In order to know what your priorities are, you have to know what your work is.

[...]

Horizon 5: Purpose and Principles This is the big-picture view. [...] Why do you exist? What really matters to you, no matter what? The primary purpose for anything provides the core definition of what the work really is. It is the ultimate job description. All goals, visions, objectives, projects, and actions derive from this, and lead toward it.

And naturally, from Principles:

Every day, each of us is faced with a blizzard of situations we must respond to. Without principles we would be forced to react to all the things life throws at us individually, as if we were experiencing each of them for the first time. If instead we classify these situations into types and have good principles for dealing with them, we will make better decisions more quickly and have better lives as a result.

Though really any section from Principles would work - it's quite literally what the book is about.

Anyway, all I'm trying to say is that I recognize I'm not covering any new ground here. After all, the idea is pretty intuitive: making plans and decisions is a lot easier when you have a consistent system for evaluating them.

Despite this, it's painfully clear that plenty of people haven't the slightest idea what principles are guiding their decisions. I see this in friends, family, coworkers, acquaintances, customer support folks I've had heart-to-hearts with, and cute pups at the local dog park - inconsistencies in decision-making because one doesn't have a clear idea of what's really important to them.

Now, I'm not going talk concretely about what my 'Truck Tenets' are in this post, since each subsequent ramblefest will tackle a different tenet. I will say that I think this is a particularly good time for me to be writing them though; being divorced from the truck for the past few months has given me new perspectives on where certain ideals of mine have come from.

*This last one isn't all that relevant, since I haven't had any seafood in three or so years.


Source: A brief tour of the places I've stayed during quarantine.
If you tilt your head to the left, it looks vaguely like a poorly drawn dog.
Yes, I do have too much time on my hands.

For most folks, the past few months have likely looked a lot different than usual. Humans are creatures of habit, and spending 99% of your time stuck at home represents a pretty thorough disruption of those habits for many. As a person who was used to spending more like 0.02% of my waking hours at "home", things have certainly looked different for me. It feels like an eternity ago that I was gearing up for a life without the truck, gathering my few possessions up and picking places to stay.

The Stars Truck Folk: Where are they now?

Well, it's been three months (or maybe four?),* and in that time I've attempted to self-isolate in six or so separate spots around the Bay, each successive stay being longer as quarantine carried on. Having spent four and a half years living in a truck, I expected some growing pains. All things considered though, adjusting to the various changes in my day-to-day was surprisingly easy.

But then again, I guess my lifestyle is pretty conducive to self-isolating when I think about it; my favorite pastimes (reading/writing**, programming, exercising, etc) require zero human interaction. This isn't entirely by design, but it isn't exactly by chance either. Through that lens, not much has changed and my smooth transition to normal-apartment-living-human makes sense. As a Normal Apartment-Living Human™ (NAH, for short), I've gone on plenty of hikes, sampled a few Napa wines, and broken a few personal records on some recent bike rides.

While not particularly impressive, I think this is the biggest biking climb I've ever done.
Picture courtesy of Ride With GPS and OpenStreetMap



Oh, and I bought another house.



Far from my most flattering picture, and I'm really not one for selfies, but I couldn't resist.

I don't want to get into the nitty gritties this time around, but it's a similar arrangement as the first one, still in the Boston area, and quite lovely. Pandemics and geography naturally introduced some logistical challenges, but in the end, T's were dotted, I's were crossed, and things were generally squared away.

What's the game plan?

First graph from Reddit, second graph from the same author, also on Reddit
Underlying data from The New York Times

For better or worse (and the graphs/data tend to suggest 'worse'), it looks like my life might return to some level of normalcy in the near future. "For better" because I'm not a huge fan of Airbnb-hopping, as nice as exploring various parks and hikes around the Bay has been, and I miss my truck. "For worse" because it seems batshit insane that anyone should be trying to return to some level of normalcy, given the effect that appears to be having.

And yet, that's the direction things are trending. I got an email from Santa Clara County (summarized here) a few days ago that said, among other things, gyms are going to be allowed to re-open shortly. That's great for yours truly, who's been shedding weight and strength in the absence of things to pick up and put down, but I would expect gyms to be literally the last thing to open. I can't think of a single place where more sweaty humans take turns touching the same set of objects, aside from perhaps a McDonald's PlayPlace.

Back in the Saddle?

PlayPlace-related digressions aside: my repeated change of scenery hasn't been lost on my eagle-eyed co-workers, who seem to immediately pick up on the changes in lighting and the rotating backdrops of windows, paintings, and other riffraff on my video feed. My excuse has been that I'm hopping around because I don't feel productive working from my primary residence. This is more or less true…if you squint a little bit…and take a fairly liberal definition of 'primary residence'. One of those conversational half-truths I'm so fond of.

And speaking of work: my employer is starting to (slowly) phase people back into the office. Priority is for the scientists and hardware engineers, who need access to special, usually expensive, and usually immobile machinery, labs, and doodads, then the software engineers. I fall into the latter category, and appear to be slotted in the first wave of pixel-pushers heading back into the office. This seems to be at least in part because I've mentioned my reluctance to work from my actual home.

And on this, I am conflicted (though clearly not enough to actually do anything about it). Am I taking that spot in the 'first wave' from someone who legitimately has trouble working from home, perhaps for reasons other than the self-imposed and truckly ones that I have? Or have most tech folk settled into a rhythm at home and are happy to avoid the commute?

And further, is it even remotely reasonable of me to be going back to a (public or employer-provided) gym? Even if I'm taking sensible precautions, am I not participating in the same kind of needlessly (and decidedly not-sensible) social behavior that's been causing the latest (and frankly, massive) spike in cases? Between wearing a mask, wiping down equipment before and after I use it, monitoring my own health, and generally not licking other gym-goers, I'm likely not all that much of a risk, but it still feels decidedly meh.

Who knows though, if cases continue trending in the same direction, companies and counties might slow down their re-opening efforts. If so, I'll continue my circuitous shuffling around the Bay (and my strength training-deficient workout routine).

What have I learned?

All in all, the experience has been an interesting one. "Interesting" is one of those words that doesn't actually mean anything without context though, so allow me to elaborate on that. I've long talked about how I don't plan on living in the truck forever, so I think this was a good reset to see how I feel about the truck. And after a few months of easy access to bathrooms and electricity, I think I've found my answer: I want more truck time.

Don't get me wrong, living in real abodes has been quite nice. I've re-discovered my love (not to be confused with knack) for cooking, where cooking is just a fancy way of saying "dousing vegetables in garlic-scented avocado oil and setting them on fire, then adding eggs". I've re-learned how to live with other humans, which is always a useful skill to have. And nobody has tried to watch me sleep either (as far as I know), which is always a plus.

But the experience has also reminded me of some of the reasons I liked the truck so much to begin with. The truck added a level of regimentation to my schedule that I've struggled to replicate with willpower alone. The frequency and duration of my exercise hasn't been nearly on par without the strong motivator of being forced to travel to a gym to shower. Also, cleaning the truck was always an absolute breeze. I'd throw on some music and get to sweeping. Barely a song would pass before I was all done. Real homes just have, I don't know…crevices. Everywhere. There's just always another thing to clean.

Anyway, that's all I got for now. I've got a bunch of half-finished (and hopefully shorter) posts I'd like to publish at some point in the near future, but you know how these things go. Stay safe, and stay home.***

*Hard to keep track, since time doesn't appear to be real anymore.

**Though I clearly haven't been doing much writing as of late.

***Unless you're in a place that has its act together and virus spread is no longer an issue, in which case do whatever you want.



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