I had a date on Sunday night. It was fun enough, though a little weird to navigate (it's hard to describe what I mean by "navigate" there, but it has to do with how I conduct myself in an extended encounter with another person). But I went home at the end of the night, and woke up the next morning with a strange confirmation that I don't need/want to date anybody right now. I have a bit of a need to go out with girls periodically just to remember that I can, and being open and connecting with people is a good skill for me to practice, but I still have the feeling that was amplified by the motorcycle, that led me to break up with my last girlfriend: a sense of solitude. I have friends and books and a job and a motorcycle and aikido, and for the majority of me, that seems to be enough right now.

Spending an evening with someone I only semi-clicked with, personally and physically, made me really appreciate the last three women I have dated for extended periods: their intelligence, self-awareness, patience, passion, courage, and presence of self. I have, since the end of 2002, chosen well and been very lucky.

I'm on a fiction bender. I read The Kite Runner (ultimately a good book, though it starts slow), I'm in the middle of Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, and I have Children Playing Before A Statue of Hercules, The Red Tent, and the four Carl Hiaasen books from the Redwood City library that I haven't read yet. I need another couple long weekends to make it through the stack before I have to renew them all.

It's in the nature of motorcycling that as we ride our bikes longer, we find more and more things to tweak in the hopes of better performance; in my case, the bike has not been meticulously maintained, so I'm actually noticing things that need to be fixed. First it was tires, then the chain and sprockets, and now I've fixated on the brake system. It's probably about time to replace the pads; the front rotor has grooves in it, which means some genius let the pads and rotor go down to metal-on-metal; and I suspect the brake fluid has not been changed in the bike's six years of life. While I have everything taken apart, I'll probably put a braided-steel brake line on the front (the outer steel won't deteriorate like rubber, it won't expand as much under the pressure and heat, and it will look very, very shiny).

I never should have left Mexico.