Monday, March 09, 2015

Freud and Undersea Diving

What would Freud think?  Twelve years old and what I want most is to climb into a dark, round metal dirigible and be submerged into the ocean.  It’s one of the few times my parents said, “No.”  And it’s the one that I remember—still.  

 Week after week, while mom and dad sat on the couch and my sister and I sat on the floor, Jacques Yves Cousteau explored that first frontier.  It was the early 70’s; we’d gone into space and landed on the moon.  Trips into space were difficult to comprehend.  Trips down into the depths of the ocean were broadcast into my living room.  .  Rod Serling provided terse commentary; we were right there with the crew on Calypso!  This was no Sea Hunt where we knew that every week Mike Nelson would save the world only to get the bends.  No, this was exploration in full Kodachrome color; a mix of science, adventure and wonder.  Oh the wonder; who knew that such creatures existed—or such dangers lurked at such depths?

This was a modern Bathyscaphe, a balloon-like diving saucer such as the one the crew of Calypso used.  There it sat on the pier in Santa Barbara.  One could be submerged in it; for a price.  I suspect the price was the reason my parent said no.  I remember little else but what shows in my mind’s eye; a steel balloon, a pier and a chance to dive deep under the water.  Still I wonder if I’d taken that dive---would my life be different?

I wanted to become a marine biologist up into my senior year of high school.  Then I found out that marine biologists had to take extensive chemistry and math courses.  I’d gotten a ‘D’ in Chemistry in Mr. Gobble’s class---only escaping an ‘F’ because I was a nice student.  If I’d taken that dive would my drive have been stronger?  Would my love of exploration been cemented?  Wanderlust was with me in the womb; would this have lit that drive up like a space-ship; changing my life’s trajectory forever?

It’s a series of the no’s and the yes’s that set our lives on their courses.  Serling would say it’s the signposts that cause us to choose the straights and the turning.  Those turns may have been tragic or filled with wonder.  Id and ego; self and sacrifice.  We are a glorious mix of all those crossroads.  Looking back one can ponder; living the adventure ahead—so much greater!

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