Fear & Loving: Where Sea Level Meets the Deep – a literary blogstory – PART ONE

Siri and My First Scuba Test – Poolside

May 15, 2014

face-of-siri-iphone-cover--2979Screw robot intelligence. I’m going back to mapping my own directions. Once again, I needed Siri to get me to a Broward County location and she got me lost.

I told her she was wrong.

She actually replied, “You’re entitled to your opinion, jarid.”

These robots sure are getting some nerve.

Stephen Hawking may be right.hawking

I asked an Apple Genius if artificial intelligence could take over in 50 to 100 years, becoming superior and indifferent to human life and needs, and he said “What – with all the bugs we gotta deal with everyday?”

Interesting but it’s possible they could eventually become an exponentially self-improving “alien” civilization on Earth, once they reach a certain point.

Anyhow, I’m excited about SCUBA. On Monday, my instructor G opened up the Delray Beach pool and I passed Chapters One and Two on the first knowledge test for my PADI /Open Water Dive Certification course.

gerard

At first, the technical equipment seemed intimidating. My mind shuts down when confronted with math stuff. (I even had to have my son Kaiden show me how to use the toaster oven.)

But once I placed my hands on the equipment, and understood how each piece relates to the body, the ocean, and its designed function, I began to get it.

I can see the equipment now – the BCD (buoyancy control device), SPG (submersible pressure gauge), regulator, alternate air source, weight system, compressed air cylinder, dive computer, compass, low pressure inflator hose, and the valves, clips, o-rings, buckles, yoke system, and more – rather than just a blaring mess of hoses, gauges, knobs, and things that look like an airplane cockpit or medical operating room or calculus class.

After the written test, we defogged our masks, put fins and snorkels on and got into the very, very clean pool – I’m always glad to see nice park facilities in low income neighborhoods,

I really want people to have nice things and outdoor opportunities.

I demonstrated my ability to swim, dive below, and clear the tube with a breath blast at the surface.

We turned the corner into the deep end – 12 feet. Underwater I saw G react. We had to get out of the pool.

Over the weekend somebody had climbed over the high fence and taken a shit into the deep end. Hung themselves ass out over the edge and crapped.

Wet and cursing on the concrete, G tried to scoop it off the bottom with a long pool net but it began breaking apart into a nasty brown cloud.

Maintenance came and started sewer vacuuming. Later they would shock the pool heavily and leave it closed for a few days.

Surrounding old homes have been renovated and turned into drug rehab houses. We talked about how in social services and non-profit work a lot of grounded patience is required, and yes sometimes some people are beyond help.

But you know me; I rarely give up on people, even those who’ve given up on themselves. Grow life from nothing. At the same time, I’m about tough love.

They’re installing security cameras at the pool. Robot eyes vs. transgressors.

I dried off in the warm South Florida sun as we finished our study.

Winds from the east blew hard the palm fronds; ocean waves were surely rough. Purple flag day. The May concrete expanded into my barefoot soles.

G is cool. He even gave me a nice pair of full foot long fins, saving me nearly $100. You never know when somebody’s going to pay blessings forward your way.

We talked about swimming with the ‘street life’ out in the ocean. With the bigger aggressive stuff it really is like moving through gangs. Respect and confidently going about your business.

He told me of a recent incident with a bull shark circling him and two friends up in Palm Beach County with his pectoral fins back, which means ‘business’.

Apparently locals know the shark – they call him “Bubba”. Somehow that made G’s story softer to me, as if when I meet Bubba it’ll be easier. Right.

Bulls and hammerheads are considered the most aggressive.

There are lots of variables, challenges, and dangerous situations ahead. I’m down.

The smell of the human shit stuck in the mesh net over the trash can particled out into the wind like a zoo. Buzzing with flies.

Random: What’s up with genius octopuses! Watch this aquarium octopus get mad when a lid is screwed down onto his jar. From inside he unscrews it and throws it off.

And this large octopus who, caught on a fishing boat, escapes his whole body out through a tiny sideways-facing hole:

Alien intelligence? The world blows my mind.

I look pretty sharp in the Mares dive jacket don’t you think? #sportstyle

jarid-scubagear

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