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03.12.2004 - 1:01 p.m.


A conversation that happened in our household the other evening:

Me: "Want a beer?"
JB: "No thanks, I better not." *pause* "I'm off-gassing."

Although JB has been known to release certain deadly gasses in my presence, especially after being exposed in any manner whatsoever to refried beans, he was actually referring to the decompression process that happens after deep scuba dives. I'm more than a little hazy on how it all works, it has something to do with Nitrogen and "partial pressure" and lungs and blood and blah blah blah ginger.

In many ways, JB and I are very different people. I, for instance, am securely tethered to the earth, preferably nice flat surfaces that do not offer up clear and present danger. JB, on the other hand, is driven to scale to the top of non-flat mountains, and more recently, to plummet hundreds of feet under non-breathable water.

Last week he dove 170 feet below Lake Washington, a feat I am simultaneously proud of and completely mystified by. Just thinking about being that deep makes me hyperventilate. That's, like, a LONG way from the surface and the sweet sweet oxygen our atmosphere provides us. And when you go that deep, there's no rocketing up in a big hurry in case you stumble on, say, some kind of horrible freaky mutant man-eating CRAB or something. No, you have to stop and just kind of chill out while your body does that decompression stuff, or else you explode like a poodle in a microwave. Or you get the bends. Or your face turns into Michael Jackson. Or something.

Yesterday, we watched a video taken during his Tech 1 diving class, where they practiced their skills underwater while an instructor did festive things like ripping off their masks and giving them "valve failures" (you pay actual MONEY for this experience). JB was positively in a froth about watching it, pointing excitedly to the screen and explaining the cryptic tanks and hoses to me. For me, even hearing the hhhhhh....burbleburbleburble of the video guy's breathing was making feel slightly panicky because remember that one scene in the Abyss where the guy starts sort of freaking out and his breath gets faster and faster and then he sees that crab (gah, crabs) crawl out of that dead guy's mouth and his breath gets even faster and raggedy and aaaaaaaahhhh, scuba breathing.

Poor JB, married to someone who not only fears ascending anything steep and slippery, but who is also unable to jump in a pool without holding their nose.

He's getting out of control with the dive gear, though. This weekend, he's taking a scooter class. A scuba scooter is a handheld thing that propels you underwater so you can aim your psycho self at the bottom of the ocean with ease. They start at approximately eleventy kajillion dollars. Also, he's been looking at boats. He's got a plan of diving various wrecks in Lake Washington (because defying death is not ENOUGH when diving, it's necessary to ALSO creep along through scary-ass ghost planes and shit), and apparently the only way to get yourself and all your dive gear in the middle of a lake is to use a boat.

Boats start at eleventy HABILLION dollars.

Why can't he be into something nice and safe and relatively cheap? Like shopping at Old Navy, say?

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15 comments so far.

I have moved. - 1.03.2005
Obviously, a work in progress. - 12.27.2004
Happy holidays! - 12.24.2004
Listen, I am not a complete dick, it's not like I want Joe to die alone surrounded by cats or something. - 12.23.2004
Plus I am convinced my butt is extra big when it's upside down. - 12.22.2004

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