It was 5:30am, a day as normal as any other aboard our dive vessel. Moored up in the Similan Islands, the crown 5 day itinerary for diving Andaman Sea in Thailand had just begun. Time to get up for the first dive briefing of the trip.
As my eyes open, I have hardly the chance to blink before I hear a knock at the door.
Hmmm…..That’s strange. Usually I'm the one who goes around knocking on doors to wake people up.
It’s likely not the crew with a problem. They’d know only to knock on my door if something was urgent. It would surely be a loud thunderous knock. Not a calm two tap knock.
So out of my bed I arose and went to answer the door.
I open the door to a woman standing in the hallway. Curly brown hair with a few freckles, about 30 years old. She seemed like she was in good spirits, excited for the first dive of the trip. Already geared up in her rash guard and board shorts ready to go. Through my sleepiness I yawn and ask her “ Whats up? Do you need help with something?” Thinking that maybe she just needs something to help finalize her equipment setup.
She looks at me, calmly, straight in the eye and very ordinarily asks me....
“ What is it called when liquid comes out of your bum?”
No hello. No good morning. Just straight into it
“ What is it called when liquid comes out of your bum?”
Now……. as you can imagine, this is not a question I get too often. In fact, oddly enough, it’s the first and only time I’ve been asked this.
“What is it called when liquid comes out of your bum” I thought to myself as I went over her question in my head. A superbly concise assembly of words to enquire about the state of ones own feces.
Well…..I know the linguistic answer of course. But surely she isn’t here merely to obtain a one word answer. Nevertheless that’s all that comes to mind , so I give her the obvious answer.
“Diarrhea?” I puzzlingly respond.
She nods head head and says “Ah….yes... diarrhea. I just make this” and then there is silence.
She hadn't the slightest look of embarrassment. She was cool as a cucumber. Not the most common bit of dialogue ever exchanged on a first encounter outside of a doctors office.
By this point I can hear a rumbling. No, it’s not her belly, it’s the other 3 people I share my room with. Like in a Tex Avery cartoon, I can see 3 pairs of bewildered eyes piercing through the darkness.
By now, I knew that they were listening to the conversation that was taking place in the doorway. Even in the shortest of fleeting glances, I can see in their eyes that they were glad it was I who had been the first to awake to the knock at the door.
“Ok..... so you have diarrhea” I said to her while nodding, thinking that maybe all she wanted was some pills to help an upset stomach. Traveling to Asia can have that effect on us westerners with weak tummies.
“Yes... I make diarrhea in bathroom”….. Hmm ok, we have already established this. Why don’t you just cut to the chase.
At this point I can see a small expression of calculating concern. The face you might make if you were multiplying two 3 digit numbers in your head.
So I say to her “ Ok” In a somewhat questioning manner. Trying my best to progress this very fascinating conversation we seem to be having at 5:30AM.
A small pause happens before she nods, shrugs her shoulders and says“ Yes... but not all go inside!”
By now I can hear my colleagues in the background doing there best not to break out into laughter.
At this point my mind has gone immediately from thinking about my morning coffee and cigarette to envisioning what is waiting for me in the bathroom.
A diarrhea explosion that has evaded a complete capture by the toilet. Fucking hell, what a way to wake up… The cherry on top is that….. I’m not even a full time employee on this boat, I’m just a freelance instructor….
Why do I gotta' deal with this shit? Literally!
The two bathrooms for guests and staff are situated directly behind her. I begrudgingly say “alright let’s go have a look”.
As I step out into the hallway, I see one of the local boat boys, stepping out of one the bathrooms with some cleaning products. He looks to me and says “ It’s ok…. Finish”
The girl looks to me and says “I guess problem fix now. I see you at briefing” and disappears upstairs. Like nothing had happened. Hahaha, Good on her, I could only imagine myself in the same situation frantically trying my best to hide all evidence of a failed bathroom visit.
Could you knock on someone's door at 5:30 am and ask them "What is it called when liquid comes out of your bum"....That kinda shit takes courage!
The vast majority us would not have been so nonchalant about it either. Had she known that it was already being taken care of, she certainly wouldn’t have come to knock on my door, yet she didn't seem care. She was just happy her poo was no longer on the floor.
I went and thanked my savior, who by this point had rays of light shimmering from the back of his head like an angel. He had taken one for the team and spared me from the shit storm.
We had a cigarette, shared a laugh and went on with our day. It’s not all sunsets and rainbows working in the dive industry, sometimes you gotta deal with some shit!!
A Day in the Life of a Dive Instructor
Ok, might not be everyone's first choice for an inaugural story for this segment, but why not?
Poo is funny, it always has been and it always will be. If you can't have a laugh about it, then you really need to ask yourself why are you taking life so seriously?
I could write a whole book about shit stories while working as a dive instructor.
You never know how a day is going to go, I've seen people cry of joy, people cry of loss and people cry because the food was too spicy.
The unexpected and unanticipated moments are what make life amazing, and when shit happens.....well....shit can be memorable, funny and entertaining!