This morning I went on a junk drive—sort of an old tradition I share with my buddy Bob. We get into our trucks, drive around darkened neighborhoods in the wee hours, and look for potentially useful things that have been placed curbside for pickup.
It's a hobby.
I used to live for the thrill of finding something I could snag and repurpose, reconditioning it to make it look nicer while maybe adding a few tweaks and adjustments to give it more functionality. Computers, furniture, unusual bits of discarded technology, and of course the mysterious but cool "box of many things" were all on my radar.
But things change. Even things we love. And over the past several months I haven't done the whole junk driving thing much, because Kara and I are actively trying to downsize so we can get on the road full time. We just went through considerable effort to get rid of stuff, so it doesn't make much sense to go on the hunt for more.
But the stuff isn't the point anymore.
These days, if I pry myself out of bed and climb into my truck and drive out into the dark and cold of morning, it's for one reason only—my buddy Bob.
We don't see each other on these mornings. We only communicate via text messaging. We send each other photos of things we find, and we comment on what the other has found. In a lot of ways it's the weirdest sort of "hanging out" you could do. But it's our thing.
That's what it takes, sometimes. You have that one friend or that one relative who you relate to in a weird and special way that no one else is going to understand. So you do things you wouldn't normally do, or that you may even have outgrown, because it's how you connect and how you communicate with someone you don't want to leave behind.
I basically don't do much more than drive around listening to podcasts, waiting for Bob to chime in with a text telling me what treasures he's found. I drink cheap coffee from the gas station, I take new streets I haven't driven before, I stop and buy something for breakfast before taking it home to Kara.
I still call it junk driving, because that's what it's always been called. But there's no junk these days. There's just my friend, and me doing what I can to keep us talking. And I'm pretty ok with that.