We recently had some really great friends visit the island, Leslie and Jaret. Jaret I went to school together. And I’m not just talking about high school. Jaret and I went to Nursery School, Elementary School, Middle School, and High School together. There were a group of about 10 of us that were all together from about 3 years old to 18 years old. I know! Crazy, right? We went to Croton Community Nursery School (CCNS) all the way to Croton Harmon High School (CHHS).
As you can imagine I didn’t go to a big high school, (there were only about 85 in our graduating class). So for 15 years I spent almost everyday with the same people. They weren’t just any years either, they were those formative years that are so crucial in developing character and ultimately how we end up as adults. They are the years that are filled with scraped knees and broken hearts. They are the years that we never forget, right? So, how is it possible to spend all these years together and then just lose touch? It happens to all of us. I’m sure that you can all think back on the kids that you went to school with. How many are you still in contact with? When is the last time you saw them?
Luckily Facebook makes it so much easier to stay in contact and re-connect with people. I think my dad just started a Facebook group for the graduating class of St. Peters, 1963. What is going on with the world, that my dad has a Facebook group? I don’t know.
Anyway… when I started writing this blog my intention was to write about diving with friends. Jaret is a diver, and he has been diving with us a few times since we have been in St. Martin, but it is always a little weird. It is super fun, don’t get me wrong, but it is weird too.
Here are Jaret and I together at a dive at Turtle Reef, I’m not sure what my hair is doing in this photo. Which is another thing. Haircuts that work really well topside, they don’t always work underwater!!
I’ll try and explain why it is weird diving with friends. When I am diving with most people I don’t have a previous relationship with them. Or perhaps I have met them through diving. Everyone has a “topside” personality and an “underwater” personality. I do too!
All you divers out there know that once your head descends below the surface, it is a different world. Not just because of the things that we see, but also because of the way that we are. Relationships change, perspective’s change, it is just different. This is the reason why I can do a 45 minute dive holding the hand of a complete stranger. On the surface that would just be weird, right? It is the reason that I can happily watch Chris with some hot blond clinging to him super tight while scuba diving, and not get jealous. Once their heads poke above the surface though, she better let go!!! 🙂
People who seems so calm and relaxed on the surface can be frantic and stressed underwater, or people who are naturally shy suddenly become leaders. When people talk about how special diving is, it isn’t just because we see awesome stuff, it is because we also get to express our alternate personalities, our underwater persona’s!!!
So, back to Jaret!
It can be weird when you know someone really well to then go diving with them. I have this perception of Jaret from growing up with him. I also have this level of trust that I have with him as a “topside” person. Underwater though, when I am in charge and looking after everyone, I have to try not to transfer that “topside” trust under the surface. I can’t think “No need to check to see if Jaret’s air is turned on, he always got good grades in high school.” Or “No need to see if Jaret is comfortable in the water, he had great form on the hurdles during track.” Does that make sense? I have to erase all of that and remember to treat him as I would any diver that I take under the water. Here is a photo of us on the surface last time Jaret came to visit.
Saying all this though, there is nothing greater than diving with life long friends. Sharing something that I love with people that I love. I remember teaching one of my best friends, Helen, to dive. This was super special. That first moment that we saw each other underwater we couldn’t stop laughing!! I had to really quickly show her how to clear her mask to get all the water out.
I don’t know why everything is so different under the water. I don’t know if it is the refraction of the light, or the silence of the water, or the sensation of being weightless, but it is. It is different, but it is good!
(Sally wrote this blog 🙂 )