A few months back I popped into the local dive shop to ask about prices for weights, one of the very last items of scuba gear I had left to purchase. Half way through my conversation with John—a shop employee—I received a message from my instructor. I can’t remember what exactly he and I were texting about at the time, but I mentioned to him I was in the shop asking about weights. He replied immediately:
“Be sure to ask the shop for the inflatable weights so it doesn’t cost as much when you fly with them in your luggage.”
Baffled, I read it again. This time out loud to John.
“What is he talking about?”
John, stared at me with an expression stuck somewhere between disbelief and amusement.
“Inflatable weights, Candice?”
I paused for a moment and then flushed as it dawned on me.
“He’s having you on,” John said.
Of course he was. In what world could weights ever be inflatable? I mean come on. The words were practically antonyms.
After I got over the initial embarrassment, I had a good laugh and admitted to my instructor what had happened.
Word spread like wildfire.
The next few times I returned to the shop, I had various members of staff, and even a customer ask me how my inflatable weights were working out. In fact, it didn’t end there. Pretty soon I was getting Facebook messages from other instructors, and then, even one of the members that runs the local dive club! A true conspiracy to make me look like I have the cognitive processing abilities of a sloth (I’m going to stop contemplating that now). Each time someone asked me about my fantastical weights and how they were doing, I paused for a second, flustered. But it was always in good humor and I enjoyed the banter—something there is no shortage of when you spend time with divers. A genetic hiccough perhaps?
Every now and then when I’ve related to others the story of “how inflatable weights came to be”—because yes, the instructors still throw it my way—we’ve had discussions about the possibility of creating them. A few people have even said, “I’d buy those as a gag gift for a scuba diver.” And so, as Murphy’s Law dictates, if something can go wrong, it will. Real, inflatable weights were on the horizon.
Sure enough, just last week, Tim, an ESDS divemaster, handed me a present. It was a box that read “ACME: Inflatable Travel Weights.” Tucked neatly inside were two yellow inflatable swimming floaties, each with its own yellow weight securely attached. It was actually quite brilliant. Cheeky but brilliant.
While I have yet to try the weights, I have no doubt that I will and that there will be some sort of story to follow. So until then you’ll just have to comfort yourself by making your own inflatable travel weights!