Android directory oddity and app crashes

Had some strange behavior this week on my Essential PH-1 with e-0.7n.
After updating a couple of builds ago my Gallery app would crash, telling me no storage available. Strange so I tried to record a log with MatLog Libre but it would crash. At the same time I kept getting the /e/ Drive has stopped errors. After screenshotting the Gallery error I wanted to reduce the image size with Send Reduced but that also crashed.

For Gallery I figured maybe there was an issue with its data directory under /sdcard/Android, I would delete its directory and it would be recreated. Lo and behold I discover there’s no Android directory. How can that be? Fire up MiXplorer and confirm. Figure I’ll access internal storage via other routes and see if it shows up. The strangeness continues.
/data/media/0/ showed up empty. /mnt/sdcard also IIRC. Yet in the file managers everything is present normally, save for Android.

I go into TWRP and all is fine. Android directory and its contents are alive and well. Back in the ROM it’s not. A few days later as I was scrolling down the list of directories I found Android. For some reason it was a zero byte file! (screenshot below). Wasn’t sure how I was supposed to fix that or why it was the way it was. Updated to latest build with wipes didn’t help. Thoughts of having to start from scratch entered my head (Nooo!).

The recent discussions about the App Store had the simple solution though. Went to Settings → Storage, cleared cached data, reboot. Now the Android directory was back and no crashing apps. All good. Given the number of years and literally scores of ROMs (multiboot addict that I am) I’ve never seen this behavior before regarding the Android directory.

Guess I spoke too soon. After a charging session I boot the phone and the Android directory is back to being a zero-byte file. And as before /data/media/0 is empty. Clearing cache didn’t help this time.
Not sure what’s going on. Maybe I will have to start fresh, including wiping internal storage.
Ugh, this blows. A phone without an SD card means hooking up a flash drive. Make heavy use of those with the phones anyway but still.