37.26 – Self contained underwater breathing apparatus

I finally put a movie in my Netflix queue!  It came to the house!  We actually watched it on the first day!  This is huge for us.  We don’t really watch movies.  But I’m starting a new tradition.  Dinner and a movie at my crib a few times a week.  So feel free to leave a note if you have a “must see” movie for me to put in the queue.

Tonight we watched Kick Ass.  Let me say that it was not at all what I expected.  Maybe I never paid attention in the previews but it wasn’t really what I was expecting.  At the rate I get to movies, I’d think it’s safe to say that if I’ve seen it, everyone has, but even still, I won’t give anything away.  Nicolas Cage is a lunatic though, I will say that.  If you by some odd chance are behind me in the Netflix queue, well, let’s just say it isn’t necessarily something you watch with your kids under, oh, let’s say 13 or 14 or so.  I just looked and saw that it’s rated R.  That explains a lot.  Still a good two hours.

I know that you’ve really only stopped by to see what story I’m telling today, so let me get on with it.  The main player in this story isn’t actually a Facebook friend, but a couple of friends there were in the general area when this went down and one or two may actually remember it.

Back when I was doing a little stint in the Caribbean, I tried to step outside of my usual routine and try some new things.  Crazy things.  Things that involve water.  You see, I don’t much care for water of which I cannot control the temperature…or stand up in.  Can I swim?  Define swim.  Will I drown if you throw me in the pool?  Only if you bonk me on the head first.  I tried a little snorkeling and I enjoyed it, but no, I didn’t know when to leave well enough alone.  I just had to learn scuba.  Call it temporary insanity caused by way too much sun and a few too many mind erasers.

In for a penny, in for a pound.  I wasn’t satisfied to just go when there was an instructor (co-worker) who was certified could take me.  No, I wanted to be able to go without that restriction.   I wanted to get certified….because I was obviously already certifiable.

Let me note here that there was a hey-come-see-if-you-might-like-scuba event that took place in the pool.  In 4 feet of water.  I got all the gear on and put  my face in the water for about 4.5 seconds before I shed it all faster than anyone could ask if I was ok.  I failed bubblemaker.  Miserably.  And yet, I think going into the ocean will be better.  Certifiable.

I got all of my books and made sure I could get to the classes.  I watched videos. I read books.  I committed information to memory.  I was ready. Because I can outsmart anything, you know?  If I can just think it all out, it will go exactly as I plan it in my head.  Certifiable.

Now, Kyle, who was the poor soul who got to deal with me and my learning attempts, has the patience of a saint.  He let me interrupt his class and kept encouraging me nonetheless.  Have you ever been to the water part of a scuba class?  Well, maybe you do it in a pool or you do it in the ocean if there’s a safe spot there.  We went to the ocean.  We put on our gear and waded out and filled our BCDs and floated around in a circle while Kyle explained what we were going to do whilst sitting on the bottom.  Explanation complete, we were instructed to let a little air out and go ahead and sink down to the bottom.  That worked for about 5 seconds. (A half second longer than the first time!)  But 5 seconds was enough time for me to sink to the bottom and immediately push off and shoot my way back towards the sun.   Certifiable.

Kyle got everyone settled at the bottom and then came up to talk to me.  First, telling me that I’m lucky as hell that we were only in about 7 feet of water, as pulling that stunt from deep would really eff me up, and second, asking what happened.  I told him that I just freaked.  Told him to go back down to his class and that I would watch from the top and slowly sink my way down if I could.  He was satisfied with this and away he went….thinking, “this chick is certifiable, and probably not in scuba.”

I somehow managed to calm down enough to slowly sink to the bottom.  Upon my arrival, I even got an underwater round of applause from the rest of the class.  Nothing like feeling like a tool.  But I guess I didn’t know what that felt like.  Yet.  You know, you don’t just sit down there.  There are things that you have to do.  You have to fill up your mask with water and drain it back out.  You have to learn to control your, well, float.  It’s called a fin pivot, look it up if you want to know.  You’ve gotta take your regulator out and put it back in, getting the water out of it so you can breathe again.  All this, not a problem.  Take your mask all the way off, put it back on and then clear it…problem.

Now, some folks might say that if you’re breathing through your mouth then you’re not breathing through your nose.  Maybe for some people that’s true.  I’m not some people.  See, I never breathe through my mouth unless I’m sick or super winded or yawning.  So breathing through my mouth isn’t natural to me.  My instinct is to breathe through my nose.  With a mask on, no big deal.  It isn’t enough to make a difference in the mask.  Without a mask on, you might as well be asking me to land a 747 without using the auto-pilot.

I tried everything I could to get around fully taking the mask off.  I pulled it away from my face for a second, but that wasn’t enough.  I put it up on my head like sunglasses but that was a no go.  I will admit that my classmates were either rooting for me or laughing their collective asses off at me, not sure which.  I just did NOT want to do this.  I knew that I had to do it to continue though.  I did it.  I thought I was going to drown, yes, while breathing through my mouth.  My mask got caught in my hair.  Another reason to freak out.  I can’t see, of course, and I’m about to lose my mind.  And then all of a sudden, I get my mask back on.  Hallelujah I’m not dead!  *round of applause*

I made it.  I’m thinking I’m golden.  But no, then there’s the pool part.  I’ve gotta float for like 5 minutes.  Float.  The thing I don’t do.  In water I cannot stand up in.  I try to practice.  I try in the ocean, I try in the pool.  I get assistance from people who swim and swim well.  But I sink.  Always.  Like I don’t use a lot of weights in my BCD sink.  I cannot do it.  After defeating the ocean, I am beaten by its red-headed step-child the pool.

I’ve not gone back.  The water and I are still not friends.  But that’s okay.  I’m landlocked now.  I’m friends with the mountains.  And you.  Thanks for stopping by.

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