My writing muse — the long-form muse that is — has gone missing. I have been deep in the trenches of a bigger rearrangement of things that has been both consuming and distracting. Among them is….[drum roll please]…I have accepted a new job.
I’ll be starting next week as the first Director of Content for an early-stage startup called Vested. It’s a pretty finance-y thing for startup workers (it’s a pre-IPO equity platform) but the siren call of building a new company, product, and platform from the ground up — with a talented team — got me back into the trenches of tech. The team is very smart and motivated and I realized I had “one last startup in me” (and reality around money, healthcare, yada)… true to post-pandemic form, the new company and team is totally remote + distributed. Boston, New York, Miami, Los Angeles…and SF.
Which SF you ask? Well, for the near term, both while I get my bearings with the new job and what it entails.
I have been back in the Bay Area this week to re-set. It’s been a joy to see friends and family, to get some sun and 65 degrees weather. I have gone shopping, played with my nephew, cleaned the treehouse, and generally enjoyed the trees and greenery in Menlo Park, where I am staying.
But visiting San Francisco—and my old neighborhood and apartment—has been a different story. I am both buoyed and disturbed. To be sure, my last 18 months in San Francisco were entirely in lockdown pandemic. When I left last August, it was still quiet and boarded up. Today, it’s humming with twenty-somethings, bikes, and activity. So that’s sweet to see.
On the other hand, it was super frustrating to arrive this week and have my block bookended by huge homeless encampments and trash—nearly blocking the sidewalk—that the city is not going to touch. At risk of revealing myself to be your most pragmatic-conservative-middle-agey friend on a hyper-local basis, I simply don’t think condoning people to live in tents and use drugs openly on residential streets is a healthy thing for any part of civic life. Hard no. As you may be aware, if you follow San Francisco politics, this situation goes all the way up to top layers of city government. Is the middle class homeowner who craves a teensy bit of hygiene, clean streets and no drug-related insanity out of luck? Kinda. (And you can see where wanting to leave was born.)
Then there is just the fact that I have become a person who craves (and maybe even needs) birdsong and walk the dog without terror he’s going to eat something toxic—and that’s a tough to find in the Inner Mission. So my plan is to come back to San Francisco for a few short months (I am paying for a home here!) to get started in this new job, and then make another attempt to sell the apartment in the fall sales season.
Meanwhile, who knew that when I started Homeward Bound, it would be such an odyssey…yet here I am, still seeking home.