My first few months at TechTV went by in a blur. I rented a room in an apartment in the only place I could afford, which was about 30 miles north of the city in a town called Novato. I lived in a three-room duplex owned by a young lady who’d inherited the place and who spent the majority of her time in an ecstasy haze. She had one of the rooms. The other was rented by a guy who claimed he was saving up to enter the police academy to become a CHiP. He also said he wanted to become a Navy SEAL. He also said when he became a CHiP, he wouldn’t pull me over for speeding if he saw me speeding because he’d have better things to do. Like studying to become a SEAL. I caught him once outside my door, listening. I moved away from there as soon as I could.
The stress of having left everything I knew behind and having to adapt to a whole new existence, full of previously unimaginable cultural differences was, in a word, extreme, but I was, for the first time in a long time, responsible only for myself. My time was my own, and I spent it being a twenty-something manboy, doing what twenty-something manboys do: playing games and tinkering with my PC. I spent my very first TechTV paycheck at Wal-Mart, on two new pairs of jeans, a handful of shirts and as many videogames as I could cram into my shopping cart, and rediscovered the joy of having very few cares in the world. The feeling wasn’t destined to last.