Someone Dared Me To!! 



Who Knew Breathing could Be So Hard?

Ever since I was a little girl I have had a huge fear of water. It was a stupid fear for me I know, but it didn't really interfere with my life. Mostly it's a fear of dark water or more accurately water I can't see the bottom of. I'm not afraid of swimming pools or taking a shower or anything like that. 

    Part of being unemployed is a bit of the hermit thing. When you're broke and pretty much sick of talking about your job search, lack of job, etc. So I admit I've become a bit of a recluse. My wonderful older sister and her husband had recently taken up diving and love it. So when she offered to pay for me to take a scuba class I thought what the hell. 

    Okay Okay, I know what your thinking. How can a person who's greatest fear is drowning take a class in scuba diving. Or maybe why. There are a couple of reasons. One, I like a challenge I and I feel like all I do these days is make excuses. Two, my sister takes these amazing underwater pictures and they look so amazing. Also I had the chance to meet some of the people they dive with and they all seemed really nice. Besides I thought (YES STUPIDLY) how hard can it be.

 So to get started, I took what is called discover scuba - a class where they put you in full equipment in a pool and let you test it out. That part went pretty well and I had fun so I signed up for the class. 

Our first class was in a classroom and I thought hey, I can learn this stuff. The next class was in the pool and I thought. Oh my gosh I'm going to die. Okay not really. We put on all our equipment and got in the water and swam around. The class is a lot of fun and I am really good at swimming around and breathing under water that is until I realize swimming around and breathing under water and then I freak out. 

The Bottom of the Pool.  

The Bottom of the Pool. Okay so it was only twelve feet. The problem was that with the whole fin thing, plus all the equipment, I sort of float too much. Not really a huge problem since floating means your on top of the water. Unfortunately for the first time ever in my whole life I (again who knows why) wanted to sink deep underneath and touch the bottom of the pool. A place I had visited once in my youth and still to this day dream about. You know the dreams, the ones where you wake up screaming. Anyhow. 

So I have these great teachers. A lot of this stuff freaks me out, but I have complete and total confidence that neither of these men will let me die. Unfortunately, that logic is lost on me when I'm trying desperately to breathe through a flooded mask. I know logically (there's that word again) that I can breathe in and out through my mouth and be great. Unfortunately, my brain shuts off and I breath in through my nose which causes me to choke. Trying desperately to recover I breathe in more water. Then I panic. 

This whole panic thing really works for me. Panic and head for the surface. It may not get me into the ocean, but at least it gets me to the top of the pool.

 You want me to take off my mask?! Underwater!?

Ok so I may not be the most athletic person in the world. Like on a scale of one to ten I'm like a 2. (10 being the best). So I was willing to admit this might not be the easiest thing I ever did. I just never realized it would be this hard. When my teacher told me I had to take my mask off underwater I thought to myself, 'this man is crazy'. I mean if you're going to take your mask off, you won't really be able to see. This might cause a less brave person than myself to panic. NOT me of course but someone else who lacks my extraordinary courage. Doesn't he understand that? 

Ok so I may not be that brave. I do understand why I'm supposed to be able to remove my mask and replace it underwater. I can logically see the positive aspects of the skill. Well my brain can, but I can't seem to get my body to behave.  My brain says that if I just keep breathing in and out through my mouth everything will be fine. My body says 'Ahhhkkk water!!!! I must inhale through my nose and choke.' 

I am working on it though and eventually I'm sure I'll get to see the bottom of a body of water that doesn't have chlorine in it. I will say though that for all my other failings, I'm excellent at the emergency ascents. 

My biggest problem though is still that bottom of the pool thing. Getting there that is. Since I wasn't heavy enough to get down to the bottom, they decided to give me a steel tank versus the aluminum one I had been using. 

So I get in the pool, with the weights I had been using and the steel tank. My BC (kind of like a life jacket you can inflate and deflate at will) is fully inflated and ...     I sink immediately to the bottom of the pool at which point my mask strap comes loose and my mask starts to leak. Luckily I was able to get myself to the edge of the pool and hang on so we could remove some weights. (I wasn't really in any danger because I was breathing through my regulator and my wonderful teachers where nearby.)

So we start playing around with my weights. My steel tank is so heavy though that keep kind of floating backwards. So then we put weights on the front of my BC which helped a little bit. Still not quite enough weight though. So we kept adding more and more until finally I made it down to the bottom of the pool. Of course by that time I was so frustrated I couldn't do any of the skills right, plus class was almost over, so I practiced the whole breathing thing and then I went home. 

My poor instructors. I think I must be such a trial to them. They definitely get points for never losing patience though. 

Next Week - I ask a psychic "Will I ever make it to the bottom of the ocean?"

(OK so I probably just ask a Magic Eight Ball.)


To find out how it all ends click here.


If you want to dare me to do something* or have a suggestion of how to fight the unemployment boredom Send me an email


*Please keep in mind that I'm sort of broke so unless you can bankroll it the challenges have to be something I can do for under $20.00

Reilly Sheridan
Copyright 2003  Last Straw Productions. All rights reserved.
Revised: March 07, 2004.