8.12.2007

patient, patient, patient

Many Christmas's ago, when Scout was just a wee Scout, he uttered a now famous family quote...

The O family started the morning opening a few presents, then took a break for breakfast. Little Scout was done eating, and ready to go back to tearing wrapping paper. The adult Os were content sitting around chatting, as they had been through a few gift openings in their day. Little Scout stood before them ready to reunite with the red and green clad boxes and declared, "I have been patient, patient, patient."

This quote is truly representative of his personality now that he is all grown. He has an abounding amount of patience, as exemplified by our outing on Friday.

Scout is an experienced scuba diver, while I am a recreational vacation diver. Certified - yes. Comfortable swimming in warm clear water where you can practically see as far as you can on land - yes. Will I watch Discovery Channel's "Shark Week" specials - no. (Even though they are in HD and I generally watch anything in HD).

For Scout's 30th (yikes!) birthday, we are going scuba diving at the Channel Islands. Water is cold - as in, you need a full body wetsuit, including hood, to go underwater. Since I have never had the pleasure (that doesn't seem like an appropriate word?) of diving in a full wetsuit, and I haven't been diving in 4 years, Scout decided we should do a test dive. (Note to others: not nearly as fun as a 'test drive' for a new car). Have I mentioned how he likes to be prepared? So, we rented gear (for me, as he seemingly has every scuba contraption known to man) and headed out to the lake.

After encasing my body in neoprene (20 minutes), and waddling down the hill to the lake, impersonating the new, equal opportunity Michelin woman (15 minutes), I was ready to go! Except that I was nervous... really nervous. And Scout knew this. But I said nothing, for if I said it out loud, then it would be 'out there'.

We swam out from the shore, buoy in tow, and he sent the anchor down to the ocean depths of... um, 27 feet. He instructed me to follow the rope down to the bottom, and we would run through the drills he prepped me for earlier. I reminded him for the 37th time that he was not to leave my side, as I realized on my swim out that visibility in the lake was all of 6 feet.

I tried to sink (how hard can it be to sink?), and after a few attempts, I ended up right back where I started - floating on the surface. Scout patiently waited a few feet down for me to attempt the 'jackknife' dive technique (good thing I had lots of practice on the diving boards when I was younger). And don't think I made up that technique on my own - he had already suggested it in case I couldn't sink on my own. Again, prepared.

We sank (okay, he sank - I fought my way down) to the bottom. It is a strange sensation being underwater with the surface out of sight, air funnelling through an apparatus that I do not understand (science is not one of my strengths). Stay calm, stay calm. Don't use all the air panicking. I wanted to practice my calming yoga breathing, but that requires breathing through the nose, and mine was currently trapped inside my mask with no access to air. So, I improvised with deep breathing through the mouth... hoping I wouldn't use up all my air in the process.

Throughout all 22 minutes (is that all?) of the test dive, Scout was patient, patient, patient. He demonstrated each drill first, then pointed to me to repeat. At first, I just shook my head no, as I was still trying to breathe. He didn't flinch. Didn't point at me again, didn't cross his arms, didn't push it. He just repeated the drill again. Finally, when I was ready, I repeated his movements (not as smooth), and gave the OK sign.

He wrote notes to me (on his underwater board, with an underwater pencil) suggesting technique improvements, to which I replied: I'm trying, but I (insert option: don't like not being able to see/have to use my arms/don't like not having air). With every response that I countered, he just nodded his head in understanding, and waited in case I wanted to try again.

In the silence underwater (aside from my heavy breathing), I was reminded of one of the many reasons why I love him... patience is a virtue.

3 comments:

Tahoe said...

Good man Scout! And I love that he has a writing aparatus for diving.

Alisa Hamilton said...

Sounds like the lake was nothing like the beautiful University of Richmond pool. I'm still not certified because I have all of the same panic and fear that you do. Thus, I'm eternally impressed with your great courage (although it sounds like you have a more patient leader than I would).

- J.L.O. said...

Your Scout must have gotten all of the patience, for my Scout somehow didn't get any. . . but, he has many other great qualities that make up for it.