So today as I’m pre-checking my gear for a planned dive tomorrow with my brother Paul in Panama City, I’m smirking at myself—but also loving it. ALL the technologies. The evoked memories of past underwater adventures. The officialdom of certification cards and the smell of black neoprene rubber, creaking as I load it into the gear bag. The whoosh of a regulator and the heft and clink of weights.
But I am realizing that prepping for a dive extends that dive backwards in time, just as the photographs we will take tomorrow stretch the experience long past our no-decompression limits or air supply. The Dive begins and ends, but putting my life-sustaining toys together before a dive reminds me that in many ways, to use a post-structuralist catchphrase, I am always already there. And that all those past dives are still in me, like extra nitrogen that never quite dissipated.
I guess that’s what I mean when I say I am a diver.