Sunday, October 7, 2012

Humour me with fear...

Darren, our third house mate, always whirls in after work – he just whisks in to grab a few personal belongings before heading out to his love for the night. Sometimes though, we would squeeze in a quick chit-chat about the day’s experience.

“I had to go down to see if the ruvs was ok today.” He says with a note of increasing excitement.

A ruvs is an acronym for, ‘remote underwater video station’ and has become quite the latest scientific buzz word among the MCSS crew. It’s a home-made kind of contraption, constituting a steel frame with a can of fish bait punched full of holes on one end and a Go-pro video camera on the other. This set-up is just lowered overboard, left on the bottom for three hours – as long as the battery lasts – then pulled up and the video content watched with the hope of capturing something exciting – like a big old shark of course! So far, none of that has happened except that on some occasions the ruvs would end up on its side, which after 3 hours of video watching led to a few stiff necks.

I was not surprised at all that Darren had to do a quick breath hold dive to go check it out.

“Phew!” he says while pausing to take a deep breath, clutching his heart with one hand and then, his eyes draw into little slits while smiling widely – his sincerity at these moments becomes so obvious that I have developed my own sense of endearment for him at times like these. Of course I can’t help but smile too, the sense of recognition of having been in similar scenarios quickly coming to mind too.

This made me wonder whether humour is an acquired skill or taste. Of course we all laugh soon after birth, long before we have an awareness of it but I am not talking about the pleasured response or the response from being pleased, rather the ‘what’ that should cause a pleasing response. I mean, it would be completely inappropriate to laugh if someone gets mugged. (Or would it?)  The reason why I am heading down this line of thought is because personally I find myself laughing at the oddest of things. (Thankfully, I know I am not alone on this otherwise I would have been very concerned!) And of course we all know that a sense of humour is healthy but my sense of humour can cross that border of subtlety with such ease that I think perhaps it is only I who can go so far and see humour there. Of course the qualifications for seeing, or rather experiencing this kind of humour often comes with having personal experience of a similar event, which can greatly add to the hilarity – something which I was experiencing right now.

Darren was rubbing his heart in a soothing circular motion, as if still needing to calm himself down from the experience. “But the water was like, so green and the viz just 2 or 3 meters…” he continues while visions of dark, murky green water easily come to my mind. After all I did spend four years in the Navy as a diver.
“And it was deep, maybe fifteen meters..?” for just a moment he looks at me quizzically before continuing, still rubbing his chest, “And it got dark the deeper I went and I was thinking.., Phew!” He pauses again while taking a deep breath – I could see he was reliving the moment, the slits hiding his eyes becoming even narrower and naturally my insides start to chuckle much more at this stage. “What if something big suddenly comes up at me? What if a whale shark suddenly just appears out of the gloom?” He was smiling directly at me, his eyes opening more to make clear eye contact so he could make sure I was with him down there…

“I would freak out so much!” he says excitedly while I nod and start to break into an audible chuckle. “And I almost turned around to go back but then thought about the ridicule of the guys in the boat and then, Phew!” he says once again taking a deep and loud breath before adding, “Suddenly it was there, the right way up and I was out of there! Straight-up! Boy I wasted no time!” He was shaking his head almost violently, eyes drawn to slits again – very evident of his honest admittance of the fear he had felt.

I too laughed with him. “It is nervy hey..!” I mention while remembering those moments of mind-warfare while diving into deep murky water on your own all too well. Of course the laughter I felt went way beyond the mere words of our conversation. I could sense some emotion within Darren that in his retelling of his experience he was going over some newly discovered personal emotions resembling the likes of fear.

And boy is that funny! ;)

Wish you were here!

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