Posted in Recovery, Writing

Buoyancy Control

Neutrally buoyant! Research diving for the University of Hawai’i…

The inflatable vest worn by a Scuba diver is called the BC, or Buoyancy Compensator. It connects to the diver’s air tank, and can be used to control buoyancy—the level in the water where the diver wants to hover or cruise. Add a little air with the inflator button to rise slightly in the water, or release some air with the release valve in order to sink slightly.

A skilled diver can accomplish the same ends through breath control, and I’ve always enjoyed practicing this point of finesse, resorting as seldom as possible to the “cruder” method of pumping air from the tank or dumping it out to maintain my neutral buoyancy.

When it comes to mood, I suppose I operate sort of the same way. My “default setting” is a smile, and the mood-dial is nearly always tuned to “chipper.”  But... I’m not a patient person. That has been a fault of mine for as long as I’ve been ME—and although I’m unlikely ever to erase the character flaw, I do make an effort to address it by remaining outwardly pleasant. One of the few things in the world that’s entirely within my own control is my own behavior. Which means there’s no excuse for me this evening.

Sure, there are reasons, but none of them equals an excuse. I was impatiently trying to get through my line-up of assigned writing because I’ve had some writing of my own that’s been percolating in my head all day and I wanted to get to it.

But then a client wanted a big revision (and an addition they hadn’t initially asked for) on the e-book I wrote over the weekend. And then another client wanted a revision on the two articles I’d just finished, because I’d misinterpreted the instructions. Relaying these client-demands, we have my poor boss—who’s accustomed to my habitual smiley-faces even on IM chat, and who, instead of smileys, got a bunch of irritable argument from me, pointlessly parsing the directions that had been sent originally (as if that would change what the client clearly wants now) and generally being sulky and resistant.  “Kana, you’re killing the messenger here,” he protested—and of course he’s absolutely right.

Scuba equipment check
equipment check… The Diver’s equivalent of Step Ten

Due to the shoulder placement of the air-release valve on a Scuba BC, a diver has to be upright to release any air for buoyancy control. A few models like mine, though, have an additional valve at the bottom back-side, enabling the diver to offload air even in a head-down position. We always called that one the “butt-dump” (charming, no?) because of its placement and use. No finesse there.

That would be the equivalent of my petulant and unprofessional response this evening in dumping my impatience and frustration on Steve. A brain-dump IS a butt-dump when you have your head up your ass.

And it has a markedly negative effect on buoyancy. But this is precisely why we alcoholics have the “maintenance” Step-number-Ten, to check-and-correct ourselves as we navigate life.  A little prayer to restore neutral buoyancy, and a little sorting-out of parts to where they belong (head back on shoulders, thank you)… And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have an Amends to make. And some revisions to write.


I am... a writer, an explorer, a coffee-drinker, a recovering addict, a barefoot linguist, a book-dragon ("bookworm" doesn't cover it), a raconteur, a sailboat skipper, a research diver, a tattooed scholar, a pirate, a poet, a spiritual adventurer, a photographer, a few kinds-of-crazy, a joyful wife, a mom... a list-maker! :)

27 thoughts on “Buoyancy Control

    1. Well, *I* can’t take credit for that… I used to think A.A. was just about quitting drinking, but it’s about LIVING better. I’m just trying to be teachable. ;)


  1. “A brain-dump IS a butt-dump when you have your head up your ass.”
    I *so* love this. Makes me want to jump in my old truck and trundle to Idaho to squeeze you.


  2. “A brain-dump IS a butt-dump when you have your head up your ass.” I’m wondering how I can fit that quote on my letterhead. As you can well imagine, I loved this post on so many levels!
    Hugs, Yer Ma


  3. I loved this post! “A brain-dump IS a butt-dump when you have your head up your ass.” Consider this line officially stolen. I have a sponsee who is overdue for this message.

    Here’s me scuba diving in Okinawa circa. 1975.


  4. You are a very gifted writer….this is a great analogy throughout the post, and then you save the “best for last” with that “butt-dump” bit….hilarious! But point made, and a very good one at that.

    Thanks for the visit to my blog…look forward to reading many more of your posts soon!


  5. I love this analogy. I think it works well on every level. I commend your zest for life, honesty, and great post, here. I like our style not to mention your very cool and happy picture.


    1. Right there with you! I sometimes think my “smart” phone is actually making passive-aggressive comments about my life… ;) Thanks for reading!


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