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Not It!

This is not me. This was my dive buddy 20 years ago.


I had been certified for one year, almost to the day, and had returned to the same dive operation in Puerto Vallarta with some friends.


"You must have been diving a lot this year," my OW instructor commented. And I proudly responded that I had. In my first year as a diver I had quickly accumulated 100 dives.


100.


So I was just about right in that window where I knew every single thing there was to know about diving. I was amazing as a diver, too. Perfect control in the water in all ways. What's more, because I'd accumulated so many dives in only one year, that obviously meant that I was some sort of prodigy... or something.


Which is why I brought a camera. Because obviously I was already such a brilliant diver that adding a camera was the clear progression and would not be at all task loading or distracting in any way.


The photo is not of me. But I'm 100 percent certain I, taking the picture, didn't look one little bit better.


Our laptop is dying, so I've had to spend some time doing cleanup. And happened upon a trove of photos I'd long forgotten I'd had. Including this and all the accompanying photos of blue spaces where fish had been just a split second before.


20 years. I'd like to say it seems like yesterday, but it doesn't. It seems like lifetimes upon lifetimes ago. I was married to someone else then. I lived in Virginia. I had a new job as a Data Center Technician.


Nelly? Hawaii? The New York Aquarium? Cave diving? Not one of those those... each of them now vital to the point of defining to my entire existence and sense of self... none of them had so much as occurred to me neither as things which existed nor were in any way relevant to my world.


It was a long, long time ago. But once upon a time I looked like this in the water. I was PROUD to look like this in the water.


Every dive professional you think is just the coolest person alive... once upon a time they looked like this in the water, too.


It's worthwhile for us all to remember that when we're trying to pretend that we're cool.


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