January 15, 2019:
The end was triggered by a symptomatic misunderstanding.
I remember the moment vividly, in his passenger seat heading south on I-5 between 52 and Balboa. I said, "Why would I want to do that?", and I meant it literally literally. I mean, that's exactly what I meant. I was totally confused by his suggestion, and was asking him to explain.
"Don't give me that shit," he said. Like I was being deliberately difficult or argumentative.
And that was that.
That well demonstrates the limits of his investment. If it grew his CV without requiring too much effort, he was good to go. If it threatened to become challenging, as here with what he assumed was a difficult teenager, it was time to eject.