Aug 30, 2006

SEATTLE, Washington: Home again. But I might as well not be. I'm too busy to notice.

Hmmm. I have guests here. Somewhere. Two of them, in fact. But I'm hunched rudely over my computer, mumbling about bottom time and flashing hand signals at the screen.

I have a day to absorb an entire PADI course, normally sprinkled through a month. Otherwise I can't join the Open Water Diver gang and nose around reefs in the Bay Islands of Honduras next week.

Assignments loom. I bite my nails and quote sci-fi novelist Douglas Adams: "I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by."

I sleep in my clothes. I eat what Edward and Ilona – dear people – provide. I suffer all the agonies of a once-effortless student who hasn't taken a multiple-choice test in a decade. At least.

Here's the flipside: I'm learning. A whole new discipline. In high school, I swam competitively, but I've since challenged myself in mountains and cities and foreign cultures, not the waves (barring a few assignments, mind, like crew and winter sailing for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer).

One horrible, horrible fact remains constant, though.

I, um, kinda like word problems.

And the dive tables are the wet-dream of word problems, so to speak. Diagrams! Impressive laminated charts! Interlocking sets of equations anchored in the real world!

Slow down my beating heart.

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