Archive for October 20, 2011
Ok so Koh Phi Phi, I’m there. This woman pulls me aside and asks if I want to go scuba diving. Now when I was growing up my Dad bought me diving lessons. I remember nervously going to a pool in Houston and fiddling with what seemed like terribly complicated gear. The experience was some what terrifying, but ya know kinda cool all the same. I had a diving license under my belt. I only went diving once, we went off to a lake in Texas with a group of other divers and the instructor explained some things not to do. I smiled and a woman behind me told me I had the most guilty smile, the instructor actually complimented me. So in we went in maybe ten meters of dirty lake water and down to an old school bus. A sharp stabbing sensation came into my sinuses, my dad pinched his nose and so I tried that and blew my ears out. I had to resurface. We never went diving again. I never quite understood what I did wrong. The incident became part of a larger migraine headache scandal that ended with me taking some type of steroidal nose spray for my sinuses. I still do pick my nose.
Anyway, returning to phi phi I explain that I am registered, but haven’t dived in 18 years. I remember that my junior open water license had expired, there was some test I was supposed to take, but the instructor says that it just turns over into a regular license. She looks in the database and then comes up to me and asks my middle name. She puts in the middle name and searches, it was in 1991 she says. I make vague promises and the next day go snorkeling. Snorkeling leads to the story of the magical travel agent and a Chinese woman studying in Singapore who has never wore a bikini before. She has a trucker hat and we spend most of the day together. At the end of the day the boat stops to watch the sunset on the water. I jump out and lay in the waves, the sun is like one great funnel coming towards me, and is better in the waves than in the boat. A British man on the boat assures me diving is the best part of koh phi phi, when we get back I plunk the money down on diving after getting an ok from my doctor my dad. I had already looked up equalization and practiced it snorkeling. The resources on the web mean a simple term can become a world of advice. I can’t figure out how to use the back of the rdp. I fill in my scuba review test and then have second thoughts and call the dive shop to cancel. the shop is closed. In the morning, with a good amount of conviction, I decide to walk up and cancel my scuba review. I eat breakfast and mill around and then at 7 make my way to the dive shop, everyone is nice and friendly. I am taken over to my dive master who is gregarious and gracious. My dive mates are all women who seem to be further ahead in the game of life, but not necessarily in age. We go out to the boat off to the reef and after some review into the water. Diving is exhilarating, the wild life functions as it’s own cosmopolitan metropolis, our entrance into which is thankfully ignored, fish don’t fear humans yet. I drink tons of water and don’t smoke to clear my sinuses. I have no problem equalizing, in fact after a day practicing, I appear to be mastering it. I do bump the other divers, grind off of coral, and other wise make an ass of myself, but over all it is a really good time. I also use a lot of air.
It is strange what heals childhood trauma. How much a little mistake can add up to something bigger. I faced scorn at making a simple mistake in my teens, I was convinced as of 48 hours ago that diving was something I was physically incapable of, rather it was simply that in my instruction in a pool equalization simply never came up. Hence a simple talent became a physical disability in the mythology of childhood, a scar only I could see. Diving became like snorkeling, a simple absurd past time we primates shouldn’t crave, but do.