Treading Water

About six years ago I took a scuba diving class.  Brisket is an avid scuba diver, and in anticipation of his return from Iraq, we had planned on going to an exotic beach and trying out the crystal clear water- as opposed to the murky depths of most Wisconsin lakes.  You want clear water in Wisconsin?  Go to the pool.

One of the requirements for your scuba certification is to tread water for 10 minutes.  10 MINUTES!   Do you have any idea how long 10 minutes is?   It’s long.  Really long.  Especially for someone who is not that fond of swimming in the first place and was already tired from having to swim the 125,462 laps her mer-man instructor required.

(You may be asking yourself why I took scuba diving lessons if I don’t really like to swim…and all I can say is that love makes you do some crazy things.  And, scuba diving isn’t exactly swimming.  It’s easier somehow.   It’s more like floating underwater… super specific, right?)

Anyway, I know how to tread water, but I’m not especially good at it.  I’m more of a lay-on-the-beach type of girl. 

The mer-man starts the clock, and at first, I’m great!   Not so hard after all.  But then my arms and legs start to get tired much faster than I expect.   A sweat actually breaks out around my hairline in my exertion to stay upright.  I start to sink.  I desperately flail my limbs, thinking that surely I’m almost done with the 10 minutes.   I glance over at the huge clock on the wall- and want to cry- it’s only been 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, my mer-man instructor is also treading water- but also giving a full-on lecture on the nuances of buoyancy and how the finer points will be on the test.  Awesome.

8 minutes in; my head is tilted all the way back to prevent water going into my mouth and nose, my ears are completely submerged, and I’m hoping that if I arch my back enough, I can just float awhile and give my arms and legs a break because I’m SO TIRED.   My legs and arms feel like lead.  If I wasn’t afraid of drowning, I would have just closed my eyes and stopped.

I think the mer-man took pity on me- and didn’t feel like having to fish me up from the bottom- because he finally called time…about 1 1/2 minutes early.  I did not care.  I was ready to have him drag me out of the pool with one of those big wand things and send me home.

But somehow, somewhere, I summoned up the strength to finish it out.  Was it the power of Brisket’s love?   Um…no.  Probably that I’m stubborn.  And that I had already paid the fee to take the class- and wouldn’t get it back.   So, stubbornness and cheapness.   Powerful stuff.

And, you know what?  The rest of the class got AMAZINGLY easier.  I discovered that while I suck on the surface of the water (don’t even get me going on surface diving), I totally rock underneath the water.   I’m proud to say that I was the fastest in class in all the underwater skills-  clearing my mask?  No problem.   Sitting on the bottom of the pool and using my breath for buoyancy control?   Easy-peasy.

Stubbornness can come in handy.  Last week I barely had my mouth and nose out of the water.  This week’s been better.  My arms and legs aren’t as tired.

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Categories: deployment, me | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Treading Water

  1. Anna Gall

    Stubbornness goes a long way! I like swimming, not good at it, just enjoy the movement in the water. Never tried scuba diving … one of those bucket list things.

  2. Mary Ann

    Wow, I am REALLY impressed!! But didn’t quite understand, are you saying you just took the class again, or you finished it the first time? Anyhow, CONGRATS!, and I know Brisket, along with the two other “gals” from your household, are really proud too!

  3. AWESOME! Go you. And sometimes those stubborn streaks pay off in spades.

    I would love to dive. My mother about has a heart attack every time I mention such a thing though. (Apparently, when I was born, one of the first things my grandfather said was to keep me away from the water. According to some kind of whack superstition thing, I have a double crown or a triple crown or some kinda goofy-ass crown on my head that — based on this folklore — makes me prone to drowning.)

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