Diving tends to throw me into improbable situations. For example, I have found myself hiking down the federal highway in Mexico in a dripping wetsuit. I have smuggled more than thirty pounds of dive gear through airport security in a very large handbag (an attempt to bypass weight restrictions on luggage), and cut a hole in a frozen lake so that I could jump in. By far the most comical situation began when I got a bit tipsy and went to the corner store to buy lubricant for my drysuit seals.
I was living in New York at the time, and had taken Friday evening off to attend the pre-dive/beer meeting at my local dive club. After about ten minutes of logistical planning, we addressed the true purpose of the meeting (beer) while ostensibly continuing to prepare our equipment. Several beers and a few hours later, I noticed that I had misplaced the lubricant for my drysuit seals.
This deserves a bit of explanation. Drysuit seals are made of soft, pliable latex, which tears easily. Most divers coat their wrist seals with talcum powder to help the seals slide on smoothly. The divers at my dive shop favored personal lubricant over talcum powder - partially because it works very well and partially because the dive shop was full of dorky men who enjoyed the shock value of going to the same store week after week and purchasing massive quantities of water-based lubricant.
Now back to my story. Being a go-getter, I figured that there was no time like the present, and staggered out of the dive shop to the Duane Reade Drugstore across the street. It was about 11:30 on a Friday night. The shop was busy, so I waited my time wedged between businessmen, drunken college students, and bums. When I finally arrived at the counter I used my "outside voice" to make my order, "Can I have a large bottle of K.Y., please?" I was loud on purpose. Everyone stared. This was fun!
The are several varieties of K.Y. One variety heats up on contact. The clerk, busy, and probably a bit annoyed by my boisterous ordering of personal products, grabbed the first bottle she found and shoved it across the counter to me. It was the self-heating kind. This could be a problem. I imagined my wrist seals dissolving because of the weird heating chemicals in the lubricant. I wondered how hot it got. There was no way I was putting an untested product onto my custom fit DUI Drysuit. I decided to ask for the normal K.Y.
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The clerk had already turned her back to me. "Excuse me!" I shouted waving my K.Y. at her. "This is the wrong kind!" She turned and looked at me, as did everyone else. I said the first thing that came to my head, "My wrists are going to get WAY too hot if I use this."
Silence filled the store. There was no way I was explaining my way out of this one. I smiled, paid for the K.Y. and skipped back to the dive shop, where my fellow divers and I spent the rest of the evening giggling about how I had managed to alienate and entire store full of New Yorkers.