Racing across the South China sea in a speedboat to go snorkeling in an ocean that “probably doesn’t have any sharks” and if it does they’re “pretty small” is a lot like going to the gynaecologist. Exotic fish watching and lady part check-ups are both activities for good causes. And both, in my head at least, are weirdly linked.
Wait, don’t page back to facebook, I can explain. Sometimes the only way I can summon courage to do things that scare me (like jumping into the murky ocean in the middle of nowhere feeling vaguely like a baby seal with swimming disabilities) is to think of the gynaecologist. Mine is a very nice man in his sixties who looks like he recycles and never forgets his wife’s birthday. His office is wallpapered with photos of smiling babies, tired looking moms and loads of thank you cards. Whenever I go there I take solace in the fact the I am not the first or last patient he has seen. Infact I am one of thousands and thousands that he will see in his career, just another in a line of anothers. Back to the ocean, our speedboat is just another speedboat in the ocean, heck, sharks probably yawn at the sight of speedboats by now. Yes, bad things do happen, but generally, that moment that makes your heart pound will not make headlines. And that for me is a super comforting thought.
With Dr Smith’s office in mind, I jump into the water, flippers and all. My heart does pound and I have to hold Aadil’s hand for most of the time (knight in shining goggles that he was), but geez it’s totally worth it. We snorkel near three different islands in one afternoon (our speedboat driver lives up to his name of Speedboat Driver). As we are heading home, all salty haired and sun-kissed he says to us, “We go to fish farm now, see sharks, yes?” We all chuckle in the way you do when there is a joke being made that you don’t quite understand. And yet, suddenly we’re stepping off the speedboat in the middle of the sea onto rickety planks of wood floating on blue plastic drums all tied together with sun bleached ropes that form a grid. In each wooden square is a net housing different kinds of fish, turtles and um, sharks. Not more than a metre long but still big enough to nibble off an elbow or an ear at least. Ah, the fish farm.
There I stood, holding a little plastic packet of bloody, dead sardines (shark food), balancing on a floating plank of wood narrower than a ruler but older than my granny, looking down into the water at circling sharks, whose bellies are hopefully already full of elbows and ears, thinking about my gynaecologist, listening to the sound of my heart pounding like a cliché and smiling.