Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Phew, I'm certified. Certifiably certified scuba diver and I get an official card in the mail and everything, so that if I'm hit by a car and someone goes through my wallet at the hospital, they can be duly impressed. Warmest day in weeks, I've been watching the weather forecast go up 1ยบ per day for the last week, the gods were on my side, but Poseidon was a smidge testy.

Slightly rough day today, beginner scuba divers are not exactly graceful, not nearly at all. Today, we climbed down a rocky slope wearing our 6,052 lbs. of gear to get to the water, and if that wasn't harrowing enough, you have to walk into the water on wet, slippery rocks. My relief at getting to the water alive evaporated instantly as my foot touched the first slippery stone and it got pretty ugly from there, although, no doubt had there been a hidden camera, I'd be providing hilarity to someone right now. I got in up to about my knees and lost my balance and was tilting back and forth on a tightrope trying not to land in the net, I thought I had it, I had it... I never really had it and wound up on my back in shallow water on top of my tank. A turtle stuck on it's back fruitlessly waving it's stubby little arms and legs back and forth. Had I been alone, I would have been like that for the rest of my considerably shorter life, but my teacher, in considerably better shape than I, with much effort, helped me up onto me knees and for that moment, I really wasn't sure if I'd be able to get to my feet. Damn, this is exercise and I really need to get back to the Y.

When we finally got to deeper water, he swam down to plant our diver's flag and I laid on my back, warm sun on my face, catching my breath, calming down and it was a few minutes of bliss, pure perfect heaven. We had a great dive, staying down for about 35 minutes, but then we had to come up and do some test skills. I did everything fine, but I was kind of a mess. My mask was loose the first dive, so I broke the first rule and took it off to tighten it. I overt-tightened it and couldn't get it loosened up without help and diver girls want to be independent. Taking it off, caused it to fog up the rest of the time, so I descended either too fast or too slow because I couldn't see a thing, and we're talking pretty low visibility to begin with. I did far too much thrashing about, exhausting myself and swallowing mouthfuls of skanky salt water.

Exhausted after all that struggling in the water I was a little scared for the first time about not getting back to shore and well, I didn't really want to embarrass myself further. I knew I was in really safe hands, but I really, really didn't want to need more help. I already can't get my tank and vest on by myself, I hated needing help with something as dumb as my mask. The currents get stronger as the day goes on, so swimming back is definitely harder than swimming out and the same rocks are involved both ways. We saw a big flounder. next time I pretend to be camouflaged, I'm going to be a flounder.

My instructor is a peach. He's a really good teacher and has made me feel so comfortable. Usually the classes are twice a week for four weeks, but with my parenting responsibilities, there's no way I could get out two nights a week once or twice, let alone four times, so this guy, C.P, has enabled me to do something that has become so important to me on so many levels that I can't quantify my gratitude. He has two kids, High School Senior and one in college and he talks about his wife with the most natural and lovely sense of commitment and partnership, respect and affection. I can't think of anything better in the world than to feel that way about someone, or to have someone not only feel that way about me, but to be able to express it with ease to a near stranger. Of course with my constant issue with sharing too much and chattering too much, I guess if I spend a whole car ride with someone, they're unlikely to remain a stranger. I've always noticed people talking about their partners this way, and was simultaneously aware of the lack of it in my relationship. It was an intangible longing at first, just another deficit that made me sad, but I identified it some years ago and so always notice when people talk of their loved ones with such genuine affection and bonds either with or without them present, it's powerful either way. I know the people doing it take it for granted, but those of us who are never spoken of that way, notice it and personally, I always find it very moving.

Anyway, I really like this guy, and duh, not that way {get out of the gutter}, just did the wife thing... just a great guy and a great teacher and I hope we'll get to dive together again, which really, I'm sure we will. His current class is gonna do their open water dives at the end of the month and I'm going to tag along for one of the days. Now that I'm done with all the testing, I can just dive, none of this up and down, up and down nonsense, the pressure's off {o.k., I never felt any pressure} but the getting from point A to point B issue remains -- it's nice to just fall out of a boat like in Mexico. Grateful for this man's patience and knowledge and cheerleading. We met an older man in the parking lot who'd just emerged from the water and his wife was waiting there with her cup of coffee, they were adorable! She offered us food and it turns out that her husband is a post-cancer scuba diver. He was given two years to live and here he is 15 years later and living the life. I'm going to live the life.

I want my own wetsuit, I want my own wetsuit bad, my only impediment to living the life is I'm broker than I've ever been in my life. I want a black wetsuit with pink accessories. Pink weight belt, already have the pink flippers, and I'm getting a dive knife someday. They strap around your lower leg. I'll never use it, I'm scared of knives and for good reason, I know damned well I'd cut my own leg open with it, but I want a dive knife so I can feel like a bad ass scuba diver. You know, bond girl fantasy, and I'm at that stage in life where my fantasy life is pretty important. I have a great jellyfish story, but I'm too tired and I'm going to have to wrench myself out of this porch chair on this beautiful, gorgeous, fabulous day and go take a shower, cause not only am I exhausted, I stink.

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