Today’s Music: Cab Calloway – (Hep hep) The Jumpin Jive
I’m a skier. Put me in a pair of boots that fit, drop me on skis (rentals are fine), and I’m all set.
I’m a rock climber. despite being in terrible shape, I can belay with the best of them, and keep your tail from hitting the ground if you come off the cliff. At the same time, I can find some way up the face and warn you if I’m not going to make it.
I’m a scuba diver. despite a depressingly low overall amount of time spent underwater, I’m conscientious with checking and donning my gear. I know how to not panic (trust me, it’s a hard won skill), and I pay close attention to where I am underwater.
Sadly, I’m not a surfer. Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely love surfing. I’m planning on putting on my wetsuit, strapping my board to the roof and diving in on 1 Jan, unless the weather is just horrible.
But when I get on a board, I’m just awful. I have no idea what to look for when catching a wave, and no feel for when to stand up on the board. The majority of my rides end with the nose of the board plowing into the water, and me shooting over it like Wile E Coyote in too many cartoons.
That’s fine. It’s still fun.
But that line – the difference between just doing something, and being something – is an important one for me. It’s about going beyond being a random participant, and breathing in everything you can about whatever it is.
When I learned to scuba dive, I read everything I could get my hands on. I would go into shops and handle equipment, studying different mounting options, handling features, options and tools. I would play with my depth tables (because some things are too important to leave to a computer), and occasionally wander around the house in flippers (Oh, like I’m the only one who does that).
Under water, I’ve gotten into some odd situations, and remembered that as long as I could breathe, I was still ok. Then, calmly, I figured out how to get out of them.
Scuba diving is also one of the few sports I’ve done where the training actually is helpful.
And thank god for that.
But a new year is right around the corner. And I plan to be in the water on the first, on my board. Maybe I’ll even graduate from a guy who has a surfboard to a full fledged surfer!