Eight months. I’ve been working from my kitchen table for eight months. 

Hunched over a 13″ MacBook Air, with the excellent bluetooth keyboard and not so excellent “Magic” Mouse, next to a frequently out of control pile of notes and mail and USB adapters, I’ve become more productive than ever. 

And yet, while my kitchen table is  perhaps the finest piece of furniture in my house, it’s an economic nightmare. The top of my screen is at least a foot below eye level. The hard, almost bar stool height chairs are literally a pain in the ass.

Where I’ve spent most of the last eight months. | img: TGP

The 2020 morning routine.

I roll out of bed, throw on my robe and slippers, and get the kid up for school (back to online due to increasing covid cases in Maricopa county). I pour a cup of coffee and log into work.

I check email. I check the Intercom support queue. I check all the Slack channels. If I’m lucky, I’ve got a hot breakfast burrito fresh out the microwave while I do.

Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes it’s all I can do to NOT be the last one in the house logged in and being productive, and make it to the 8:30 team standup with a shower under my belt.

As much as this pandemic business has simplified my life—I’ve barely put 3,000 miles on Fezzik since March—it’s also complicated a lot. It’s awesome being able to run errands during the day or watch Peaky Blinders at lunch. But it’s been hard to avoid the drama that is the IRL (in real life).

No sooner did we get the hang of things when V’s dad started spending most of his days in the hospital, then hospice, then checked out of this earthly realm. There was a funeral out of state in California. And then Mom decided she wanted to move back home to SoCal after 30+ years.

Mom’s been gone almost a week now. The house is sold and we should be closing any day now. The election is over. AND NOW WHAT?

I STILL wonder when everyone else gets up and goes to bed. I STILL wonder what the podcast is going to be like when I reboot it—in January sometime?

It feels like I’m the most productive I’ve ever been. 

But it also feels like I’m slipping away.

All this freedom. All this opportunity. Am I squandering it? Am I doing everything I could be—should be—doing?

Last night I was a guest on my favorite podcast, Auto Off Topic. I haven’t recorded or even listened to a podcast since March. It’s what I listen to when I’m in the car by myself for more than a few minutes. I haven’t been spending much more than a few minutes at a time in the car this year. And it’s frustrating.

You know what I realized, though? I get by with a little help from my friends. 

Beyond the hyper-partisan, political doom scrolling on Reddit and the vicarious adventures of Instagram, I still keep in touch; with my DSM family in the 2GNT chat room, with the TGP crew in the forum

We’re all in this together.

All things being equal, we are ALL gearheads. And we are powerful when we work together. Hanging out with Andrew and Brad in a Phoenix garage after the kid went to bed last night was time well spent.

Despite not listening to any podcasts for eight months, I’ve still kept in contact with Andrew and Brad. We’re all on the TGP forum, but we also hangout on Instagram and Facebook. Even though we haven’t got to hang out as often as we used to (time-shifted, via podcast), we’ve still kept in touch. 

It was most excellent discovering the questions they’ve been asking people for their 200th episode special relate to reflecting on how we’ve changed and grown over the last four years. (Nothing political. They started their podcast in November 2016.) 

We reflected on what’s changed, for better or for worse. We explored the ideas of ideal project vehicles and best possible use cases. And we discovered that even I, as a self-avowed GM hater, have a soft spot for certain kinds of Chevys. O_o

Now what?

They say when you’re going through hell—keep going. They say it takes time to turn the ship. They say “Don’t worry about a thing, because every little thing gonna be alright.” Okay, so Bob Marley said that last one. It’s true, though. Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end. 

I don’t know where this is going. I hardly know where I’M going most days. What I DO know is that I get by with a little help from my friends. We may not be able to hang out in person as much as we used to, but I’m confident there will come a time when we will again. We’ll probably appreciate it a lot more, too, ya know? 

Until then, we’ll continue figuring things out as we go—just like we’ve done under the hoods of so many amazing machines over the years. This is where we’ve learned some of the most important life lessons. We’ve built high performance machines. We can build high performance lives, too. 

Covid’s stripped away the thick coats of paint that used to define us. Eight months in, we’re down to bare metal. We know where the rust is. We know what’s leaking. We know we’ve come a long way. And we know we’ve still got a long way to go before we get where we wanna be. 

You got this.

Life is like a series of sliders on an equalizer. Only, instead of bass and treble frequencies, we’re all fine tuning our lives in terms of work-life balance vs. harmony, self-confidence vs. self-doubt, acceptance vs. motivation, information vs. wisdom, and fear of the future vs. regretting the past. 

As much as we’re all different, we’re all the same. We’re all just doing the best we can with what we’ve learned—just like every human being since the dawn of time. 

Here’s to gearheads united. If you’d like to feel more connected in the age of lockdown, if you’d like to feel better about life in general, try asking a fellow gearhead about their machine on social media instead of just liking it. Or make a feel-good investment in gearhead culture—and yourself—by joining us in the TGP forum.

The more we show each other we’re still out here, still playing with cars, the more we show up and help each other out—even if only with a random good word or thumbsup—the better we’ll be when we come out the other side. 

Until next time, keep going fast with class and press on regardless.

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