The Other End of Sunset

Friday, January 02, 2009

Has anyone seen the movie Jaws?

I hate being afraid.

Come on baby,
don't fear the reaper.
Baby take my hand.
Don't fear the reaper.
We'll be able to fly...
--Blue Oyster Cult

Well, I ride motorcycles -- I even raced them a few times, although I never won. I drive fast cars -- and, ditto on the racing, and, unfortunately, on the losing. I like to ski, and love the rush of a hard turn on a steep slope.

I love horror movies, and haunted houses. I've got a tradition with my friend Raven. He and I have been going to haunted houses every year for the past decade or so, although he or I missed at least one of the past few years. (This year he skipped, on account of his back. Sorry dude.)

I can swim just fine, although I don't particularly like it. But I was on the swim team a few centuries ago, and can still swim a fair distance. I don't have fish issues. I used to surf, although (a theme develops), I wasn't any good at it.

So, really, how hard can snorkeling be? It's sticking your face in the water, breathing through a funny-looking tube, and watching fish.

Boring, maybe, but scary?

Well, fearless reader, I turn out to be a fearful writer.

Yup, I hated it. Couldn't breathe, the whole flipper thing confused me, and I had a full-fledged panic attack. I couldn't remember not to breathe through my nose, which causes a weird mask-and-brain thing to happen. The flipping snorkel -- no pun intended -- kept filling with water.


SL who isn't afraid of much of anything (annoyingly, as usual) is, of course, a great snorkeler, and really loves it. And doesn't have panic attacks in the water.

Don't pay the Ferryman!
Don't even fix a price.
--Chris de Burgh

Luckily for me, she was paying attention, and got me calmed down and back in the boat. The boat didn't have a swim platform, so to get back on it, you had to clamber up over the side. As I executed this graceless maneuver, on my way back into the boat, I managed to slice my foot on the (turned off) outboard motors.

So, now I'm sitting in the boat, embarrassed AND bleeding. Yay for my side.

I guess I never knew
What she was talking about
-Jackson Browne

According to SL, my reaction isn't unusual. And, she says, the conditions weren't very good. There were 3 foot waves and a fairly high wind. She says I'd have been fine on a calm day, and that I have nothing to be ashamed of.

But I hate being scared.

Michelle, next time you go snorkeling, maybe take SL with you? I hear that it's cool to see fish...

Me? I'll be reading something stupid, on my new Kindle (thanks John!), on the shore. I'll be reveling in my lack of mouth-breathing. I'll be feeling the sand beneath my feet -- and, yes, I hate sand too. But, as least the mask won't be screwing up my tan lines.

Today's word? Arrhythmic.

You keep it up
You try so hard
To keep a life from coming apart
And never know
The shallows and the unseen reefs
That are there from the start
--Jackson Browne

As in, my heartbeat felt arrhythmic.

Or, in the sense of "unsteady": Apparently, my courage is arrhythmic.

But I know that when she asks me to do it again, I will. I mean, what's the worst thing that can happen. Umm, never mind, I don't want to know.

Anyone got a spare motorcycle helmet? I hate being afraid.


  • Fear is not a bad thing it helps us know our limits. Without fear there can be no thrill. My first triathlon I had a panic attack in the open water but still finished the tri, my second triathlon I also had a panic attack in the open water. Being afraid and letting fear control you are two different things. The day of my wife's crainiotomy I was afraid - so was she. No one likes to be afraid but there is nothing wrong with fear.

    By Blogger bernicky, at 5:38 PM  

  • Regarding your November blog - Exit, Stage left....
    Having the privilege at one time working with you and JR at CS. I think you would be a wonderful father. I remember the first day you took over our group you asked us - What was your favorite super hero? Sorry to hear about JR. She is a wonderful person and a great soul. Be good to yourself.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:32 AM  

  • :) I nearly drowned in a river in India once as a kid though I thought I'd learned to swim! In a tube and I almost drowned!! So much for those swimming lessons..

    I'm not a swimmer by any means but water doesn't scare me so I did end up snorkeling with help when I went to Australia and felt all the sensations you described. Sickening salt water because you really can't remember to breathe through your mouth!!

    Still, the sights at the great barrier reef were breathtaking. I couldn't even shut up -- I wanted to say all sorts of stuff and ended up with water! Still, if I get another chance, I'd do it again.

    There was another option -- to dive -- to immerse myself completely into the water. Too afraid for that!! The thought of that tank strapped to my back made me feel like I may never resurface (I hardly weigh much as is!).

    Fear is ok as long as it's not cramping your style. Doesn't seem like it is cramping yours too much!

    By Blogger Jessie Cherian, at 7:41 AM  

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