Anyone of the unfortunate circumstance of being Facebook friends with me is surely fed up by now. Fed up by my incessant scuba-related posts, rants, comments, and photo-updates. Fed up by my obnoxious pride over something that I technically know nothing about and have no experience with. It’s new for me, you see. I’m taking a weekly course on scuba theory and technique, as per my Bucket List for this year. So I went with some friends last Friday to the very edge of DC, almost to that mystical terrain known as Maryland, to buy my gear: snorkel, mask, fins, weight-belt, booties, and textbook. The wetsuit we will rent. It soon became clear that when it comes to scuba, I am woefully challenged sartorially given that the experts had a tough time mixing and matching pieces of gear that would fit my weird body. I’m too tall for the suit and the leg-ends don’t fully cover my ankles, which has been declared unacceptable by PADI and its divers alike. Being fitted for my mask was also an unforeseen treachery. Apparently my face is so atypically shaped, none of the masks fit properly. I would pick them out one by one, firmly strap them to my face, turn to the diving expert with a hopeful expression that this could be it, and he would just depressingly look down and shake his head ‘no’ every time. The strangest part was that all the masks felt and looked the exact same, on my face and off. When I would ask him how and why it didn’t fit, he would just divert the question and pick another ‘ill-fitting’ mask off the wall. He was all business. By the end he was so sick of me and my lumpy pumpkin of a face, he picked the mask pictured above and pushed it heavily on my temple so that the suction cup action was thoroughly startling. He looked at me and somberly muttered ‘those will have to do’ and shuffled off into a forest of hanging wetsuits.
Anyway, I’ve become enamored by the world of scuba with the eventual goal of Nat Geo quality underwater photography, and this newly found hobby has wiggled its way into my life in perfect conjunction with two recent occurrences. 1) On holiday in Tobago, I met and befriended a group of Swedish divers. They are truly awesome people and they invited me to dive with them and explore ship wrecks and reefs with tropical fishies in them and sharks too! My reaction to this was not unlike this one. 2) In a recent 30 Rock episode (if you don’t watch 30 Rock, please start) they cite some unique groups who they would consider idiots. On the list: “frat guys, DJs, loud-mouth old bitches, investment bankers, the tramp stamps, parrot heads, anti-vaccination crusaders, and people who won’t shut up about scuba diving” (insert guy popping out of the crowd, declaring wide-eyed with a funny grin: “it’s a whole different world down there!). You’re right, scuba dude! It is a whole different world down there! You know when something is so brilliantly funny and personally relevant in every single way, your body doesn’t know how to react? You’re winded. On the floor. Laughing so violently every part of you hurts. Then your roommate walks in and thinks you’re having a seizure.
So by Tina Fey’s standards, I am an idiot. I consider this a great thing! Everyone is an idiot in their own way or another. If I didn’t make the ‘idiot’ dive with shamelessly over-advertising my not-even-novice scuba skillz, I would definitely be an idiot in that I love raisins but I don’t like cookies with raisins in them. Or that one time when I asked some friends whether potato chips have dairy in them (in my defense, they were CREAM of mushroom chips in Russia, and my brain was heavily clouded with rotten and adulterated Trans-Siberian Railway air).
Anyway, the doors scuba opens for me extend to more than just epic underwater exploration and unprecedented discoveries abound. As I’ve phrased it on the Facebook: “my life has now become a serious of escalating public dares.” For instance, wear my scuba gear on the metro as seen above!! Documentation is a must. The next public dare will involve my snorkel and so on and so on, until I’m waddling down the Nation Mall in full gear, wetsuit, fins, mask, snorkel, a smile, and my heart on my neoprene skin.
This scuba stuff is the beginning of a reoccurring lifelong adventure and source of dependable hilarity, to be sure.