“Matt, you are excellent at exhaling very slowly. That’s a very good talent. That means you are a natural.”
Okay, not a skill that serves much purpose in the real world, nor is it a trait that I get complemented on very much on dry land, but when my dive instructor told me this when I was learning how to dive back in September off the coast of Mozambique, I couldn’t help to think, “You know what? I am a good exhaler, and it’s about time the world recognized my talents.”
Instead, I breathe frenetically into my breathey thing and hang precariously on the line they’ve thoughtfully dropped from the boat as though my life depends on it, which, frankly, it does, while Paul outlines all the skills I have to perform underwater to qualify as a diver: swim with no mask, swim with no mask and my eyes open, put my mask back on and clear it of water using my nose, take the breathey thing out of my mouth, put it back, take it out again, but this time deliberately lose it, scrabble around to find it and try not to die.
I try this, but because I can’t see properly due to my mask being full of water, I narrowly avoid putting a jellyfish in my mouth instead.
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