Last week, Jérémie told me about a phenomenon many professional programmers deal with regularly (and that most people in detail-oriented jobs probably also struggle with): when you've left your place of work for the day, the inability to turn your damn brain off because of a lingering problem, whether it's a elusive bug or something you didn't have time to implement and are just holding your in your head. (Because why write these things down?)
I had my first major encounter with this today (in programming, at least). I'd been working on the markdown interpreter for the better part of the evening, and was running in recursive circles (there's probably a more visually appropriate metaphor there, but bear with me) for hours. Alex suggested we go for a walk, so we did, and I rubber ducked the problem with him (especially useful since he doesn't know a thing about programming).
We went back to the apartment, and I resolved to stay up as long as it took to make it work (which, by the way, was figuring out how to properly nest code blocks inside of block quotes--made all the more frustrating by the infrequency with which anyone actually uses that kind of nested structure in their markup).
It's now 3:00 AM, and I've successfully implemented it, somehow, despite writing a good chunk of the initial code while coming down from a buzz off the high ABV beer Recurse served at a talk Yan Zhu, the new resident, gave. The celebration is actually being able to fall asleep. I'll take it.
- Yan's talk, mentioned above, was hosted at the eBay offices, and was extremely good--she works primarily on privacy and security (via Brave), and spent most of the talk discussing ways companies can track visitors beyond easily avoidable methods like cookies. I stayed for the Q&A, and rode a pretty long wave of imposter syndrome as my peers asked questions about technologies and methods of breaching privacy that I'd never heard of. But I suppose drowning a little bit is how you realize it's time to learn.
- On a personal note, after settling in and feeling much more comfortable at Recurse, for whatever reason today I hit a wall of social anxiety. I suppose these things just come and go. I need to take care of myself--meditation, exercise, reading things other than code, music--to hold equilibrium, and I've been neglecting those things in favor of intent focus on programming. Just writing this out is a already a bit of a corrective, and I'll figure it out.