I am very bad at lulls in conversation.
There are friends with whom I am comfortable in silence; these are the close friends, the chess-at-breweries friends, the ones with whom I can sit and stare out into the earth.
But even then, even with them, I struggle. You can be an absolute stranger or someone who I’ve known for nine and a half years, after a long enough pause I will ask you one of two questions: what’s new with you? or what’s something I don’t know about you?
Here are some new and potentially interesting things about me:
- Buttondown continues to do well. I keep on meaning to write about it doing well in some sort of concrete terms, but — if we’re being honest, and we are — it’s doing well has mostly had materially negative impact on my life. In the abstract, I am thrilled and happy and blessed do have a Thing I Built do this well, but I have still not quite figured out how to scale customer support or bug fixes. I need to focus more on this!
- I am house-shopping now. It is definitely not an irrational response to a very close friend buying a house in Bloomington. My requirements are simple: less than two thousand square feet, free-standing house (townhomes are not my thang), fireplace, shed (that I can convert into a speakeasy). It’s at the unironically-sending-Redfin-links-to-my-mother stage, so, well, yeah.
- Work is going really well! My project the past two months can be described, depending on your level of abstraction, as either “play source code detective to save my team tens of thousands of dollars in monthly AWS spend” or “solve organizational code fan-out”. It is deeply fulfilling in the exact opposite way of my traditional ouevre, product work — to stare hard at a thing, change two lines of code, and have a pipeline perform better.
- I listen to my old Hype Machine repository every now and then. Sometimes it is depressing — some sort of artistic stasis, that 2019 Justin has not gotten past 2012 Justin in any serious or interesting way. Other times, though, I fall upon a track that hit me in one of those Big Track ways — say, Hey Rosetta!’s Yer Spring — replete with all of the youth and the verve that you think you might have lost seven years ago. It is still there, as hackneyed and vivid as the music video’s handheld sparkler. You still know where the drop comes in.
- Last weekend felt heavy and light, the way first days of spring often do after so many overcoats, so many unwashed socks. I wandered over to Cal Anderson, polo-clad and Kindle-armed, trying to suss 59 degrees into something that felt like sunbathing. I watched two dogs jump into the central fountain: first, a golden, the kind of golden who looks like his name is Bruce or Shoelace, and then a three-legged Huskie. They chased geese; they fished for a tennis ball; they tackle-danced in the 2pm breeze.
- I bought a Casper Glow. It’s so silly, but it’s really good.
- I finished Russian Doll. That was a pretty neat show!
- I got to spend the last week in Richmond, surrounded by my parents and the feeling that stasis can be good. I sat on the couch; I sat at the kitchen island. We ate ribs; we ate Caesar salad.
It feels trite (locally, if not globally), to say Oh my god, it’s already March?. But, oh my god, it’s already March, and I have gotten nothing done on my list of resolutions, and my todo list is the longest it’s ever been, and my phone has too many unanswered texts and emails and phone calls.
But I’m quite happy, with — and you have to imagine me gesturing wildly all around me — all of this. The sound of the gym at six in the morning; the feeling of Good Work Being Done; the taste of chilled Fernet on a languid Sunday like this. I am sleeping so well, and getting up is so easy.
(And I’ll be writing more. Next week will be from Paris, and I hope you already enjoy the awful mental image of me on a fourteen hour Lufthansa flight, typing on an iPad about Buttondown’s pain points or whatever.)