The Springs has not been kind to me recently.
      I haven't been down to the Springs since that last nightmare Thursday. But today was a beautiful, hot day (80 degrees, 96% humidity) and I thought that it would be a perfect time to get back into the water after the winter break. So I hopped on my bike and headed south. I noticed that I was missing a screw from one of the toe clips, so I stopped at Breed to get a new one. I sat in the sun, pleasantly heating up while I reattached the clip using an old swiss army knife and an allen wrench. The clip was soon secured and I scooted on down Lamar.
      The sun was hot, people were out walking their dogs and looking good, and I was tooling along just fine. I passed down through Pease Park and all the way down to 9th street. When I got there, I got a little distracted by the ninja biker dudes and thought that I had better make a good showing of jumping off the curb.
These little conversations,
I try my very best but
You know I never could say anything
In twenty words or less.
Somewhere sometime down the line
Someday I might confess
And tell all, that's all...
-- Concrete Blonde,
Little Conversations

      While I wasn't paying attention, I got my front wheel caught on the curb and I ended up busting my ass. The chain was off the bike and some skin was off my body. A couple of the bikers called out an obligatory, "You okay, dude?" I gave them a nod and fixed the chain, bleeding and cursing a little bit. I didn't think that swimming was going to help anything, so I turned around and rode back home.
      So now I've got some un-sanctified stigmata on each palm, a nice scrape on the left knee, and a big swollen gash on my left elbow. I put some ice on it and that helped the swelling, and I scrubbed out the dirt and that just hurt like hell. I smeared up with Neosporin and, incredibly, hopped back on my bike to meet some friends at the Crown for an afternoon of Scrabble and beer. When they say me, my hilarious buddies told me "Nice dressing for the arm, Big Al. You're getting to be a pro at those."

      Saturday I went for a run with BZ and got the cool new bookshelf cgi program working (hah, and you think you're a geek... I think that writing perl is a fun way to spend a weekend). When I surfaced at about 7:30 last night I realized that I had been coding and screwing around with apache for six and a half hours straight. Woosh! I had to get out, so I gave my people Ray and Jody a call and we ended up watching Shaft for our low key entertainment.
      Who is the cat who won't cop out when there's trouble all about? SHAFT!
      Friday was Sabrina's party, and Thursday was the getting-to-be-weekly salsa night at the La Bodega, which nicely foreshadows the Weekend Update. I keep trying to get la raza involved and fired up over the endeavor, but I just have to accept that not everyone thinks that going downtown to salsa dance is as much fun as I do. Ah well.

      So I'm still single. It's been two months since I broke up with the Jonger and I can't decide which way I want to go (i.e. single or dating). As I told Gabe, "It's not being single that bothers me, it's that transition between being single and non-single that's a pain in the ass." Trying to read the signals of the opposite sex is an exercise in alien anthropology, and it's a discipline that is filled with contradictory and inadequate research. One day I'm convinced that the easiest route is to just stay single and write perl scripts on the weekend (which, of course, is the easiest route); the next day I meet someone that I like and I start thinking that I was full of crap the day before. A few days later, the experiment in anthropology falls through, and I'm back to trying to decide "Hmm, what is the best link color for the old 'smoke site?"
Out of site, but not out of mind:

Leslie, who changes domains like some people change bad habits. Box doesn't seem very accessible right now, so you might give her a shot here. Or here.
Cantone (who's been reading too much superbad)
Scream Design, which provided the great spinning ying/yang on the home page
Jennifer, my reunion escort
• And someone I work with asked me to plug our site,

      Jamie and Jim were over on Friday and Jamie was eyeing the apartment with a bit of suspicion. "Alan, " she said, "I think I'm going to give you an early birthday present and have our maid come over and clean your apartment up." Another facet of single-ism: one has to be a bit neater than I habitually am. I've got to eat right, workout, get plenty of sleep, and keep a tight ship. Learning something about salsa dancing doesn't hurt either.
      Now, there's nothing wrong with any of this. It's been nice having clean dishes every day, and I'll even buy the argument that I'm somehow building character by tidying up the flat. And I forgot how much I have missed those heavy days of training: riding down to the Springs today I felt great and was looking forward to swimming until I could barely breathe. I look around and it's comforting to be able to walk through the place without tripping over a stack of unfiled bills, or to know that the closet is full of clean clothes, or to know that I've done at least one thing today that is good for the house and good for me. It is surprising how many things one forgets about when one is dating.
      Part of this, of course, is to convince the next woman who comes along that I'm a stable, put together adult. And part of this is just that when I'm not dating someone I've got a lot of time on my hands, and I try to do a good job of usefully filling that time. Cleaning up and paying bills is a great way to spend your time, as is playing Scrabble and drinking beer at the Crown. Both of them are reasonably respectable pastimes, and both of them beat the pants off of working :)

      It's getting on towards bed time. I've got the windows open and the apartment is getting cold. I look off to my left and I see my amaryllis that is bravely blooming after a long period of shameful neglect. I look off to my right and I see the Christmas lights still strung on my balcony gleaming like a brilliant curtain. I'm thinking about trying to get some cheap sympathy for my road rash at the office tomorrow, and it makes me smile. I'm thinking about King Lear, which I re-read today, and Edmund saying:

      Th' hast spoken right; 'tis true. The wheel is come full circle; I am here.

      Full circle. No one noticed, not even me, but coldsmoke turned two years old on January 21, 2000. Happy birthday, sweetheart.
      This web site was last updated on 2/13/2000.

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