July 19, 2005
Just got back from my first scuba lesson. This, in addition to my recently acquired
Camelbak, shows that anything is possible.

Scuba. Something I never really considered doing. My friend that I’m going to Africa
with really wanted to get certified before the trip but I figured I would just let the
opportunity pass. But we are going to Zanzibar. If we’re going to ever do it, wouldn’t it
be a shame not to do it in Zanzibar while we’re there??? Well, in a random
conversation with a friend at work, it was mentioned that her sister was looking for
someone to do a scuba course with. I jumped at it. This struck me as odd since I didn’t
really have a huge passion or desire to ever do this. I guess I was more thinking “Why
the heck not?” Our introductory course was on Saturday. Honesty will get a girl
nowhere—I decided to be honest on the questionnaire and admitted that I was
claustrophobic. I was now one of two people in the class that had to get the equivalent
of a doctor’s note. Lovely. Since I don’t have a shrink, nor have I ever talked to one
(wouldn’t that be the type of doctor to say that a girl who has a completely irrational
fear would be allowed to do something such as swim with major poundage latched
onto her body while potentially schmoozing with sharks?), I decided to fax the form to
a family friend who is a doctor. Silly me. I forgot that this ‘family friend who is a doctor’
is also a complete do-gooder. He was hesitant to sign, and insisted on reading
everything in its entirety…but he came through. And so I was allowed to start my
scuba lessons.

A fish, I am not. I have as much grace as a dog does when it tries to stay afloat. On the
other hand, I now call my friend’s sister ‘Ariel’ because the girl swims as if she’s a fish.
Or a mermaid, in this case. I thought I could swim. Decently, at least. But tonight
proved that theory wrong. I did pass the necessary tests, though, to be able to go on
with the course. These tests consisted of swimming 20 laps in a pool and staying in the
deep end of the pool for 10 minutes without touching the sides. Spending $200 on a
class and $300 on equipment will motivate a person to perform these skills.

The hope is that I will end up getting certified. The problem I now come across is the
amount of space this equipment takes up! Can people really travel with this stuff? I
think I can fairly say that there’s no way a person can ‘backpack’ while trying to lug this
stuff around as well. What about Thailand? The Great Barrier Reef? South America?
Cuba? I guess I should really worry about these things once I get certified. But still. I
just purchased all of this stuff and how am I going to be able to bring it with me on my
once-in-a-lifetime trip??? I did come up with one scenario. I could have my sister bring
it with her to Thailand and then I could lug it around from there. But at least that
would save me from going around the Middle East, Europe, South Africa (ohhh….how
great would it be to dive in Cape Town?) and all over Asia carrying this stuff around.

Look at what spending $500 will do. I’m deeply committed to a sport that I don’t even
know if I can do.

When I came home with my new equipment, I put it down next to my Camelbak. At
that point, I literally thought “Oh my gosh. Who is this person?” First the Camelbak
(which my sister even questioned “What happened to you?”). Now a huge bag of scuba
supplies (complete with fins, gloves, boots, mask and snorkel). In a new scuba
equipment bag, of course.

I like to see it as I’m expanding my options. I’m exploring other things to try. I’m
breaking out of believing that I’m just a city girl. I’m utilizing my free time beyond
‘going to the gym’. I’m finding I have answers when friends I haven’t seen for a while
ask “So what have you been up to?”

If I’ve accumulated things such as a Camelbak and scuba equipment in the past
month, what is waiting for me around the corner? What are things going to be like in a
year? I’d like to think I’m going to be the same, just with a few more tricks under my
belt. But who knows.

Heck, I’m the owner of a Camelbak. Anything is possible.