This week I went on a second-ish date with someone I went out before.
We went to Blue Springs, a beautiful natural Florida spring, where the water is 72 degrees year round and manatees are known to swim alongside you. As a true FL girl, I don’t normally get in water until it’s closer to 80 degrees, but I let the manatee possibility outweigh the cold factor.
I love the idea of nature. Swimming in a spring with manatees and splashing around with a hot guy sounds blissful and to many I am sure it is. Please note I said I love the IDEA of nature. Here’s how our date actually went.
I have been to springs in Florida before and the idea is lovely. The reality is crowds and algae. The last time I went to one, with my Ex, a little boy went past us yelling, “Mommy I’m peeing!” and then kicked water on us as he swam on. I had heard, however, that wasn’t the nicest spring and Blue Springs was far and above superior. So I decided to give nature, and this guy, another chance. Going on a weekday eliminated the crowd factor but algae, well, hopefully would not be a factor.
The ride up was enjoyable and I was feeling pretty optimistic. After we got there, he carried my tube (my feet wouldn’t dare touch the bottom) and our towels which was very gentlemanly like. I was so excited to see manatees that I neglected to mention my many hang-ups and merely made sure he was on board to push me about in my tube.
Seriously, I can’t have my feet touch the algae-ridden log and rock bottom floor! I took about fifteen minutes to get down three steps and half sit, very erect, in my tube minimizing the cold water on me. He dove right in and splashed about laughing at me calling me a baby. There are some things you can bully me into; cold water is not one of them.
Finally we set out, him swimming and pushing my tube, me still sitting very erect trying to avoid the water. We heard someone cry out that there was four or five manatees ahead and I demanded he push me faster. He was really slow and bitching about it being upstream. He mumbled “diva-something” and I mumbled “go-to-the-gym-something” but eventually we got there.
Suddenly my tube was hovering directly above two manatees and he ditched me! I freaked out! OK, he didn’t ditch me he got distracted by other manatees but I was sure the ones below me were going to swim up for air and toss me out!
Fortunately I escaped unscathed and within a few minutes they swam off. Then my date came back and tried to hang on my tube. The pressure flooded me with water and I cried out at the cold. He backed off, but I think he was mad. A giant bug landed on my leg and huge fish swam right next to me. After that, I just wanted out. The thing about these springs is there is a start, a stop and tens of feet of vegetation on the sides. We had no choice but to finish the route.
I tried desperately not to focus on the floating clumps of algae, the bugs landing on my legs, the spiders in the trees until we safely reached the steps. The thing is, what he perceived as “diva” was my extreme discomfort. I was so unbelievably uncomfortable in the bug and leaf infested water I was holding in panic, which came out as bratty bitching. After we got out, the plan was to dry off with some drinks and relax, but shockingly we were both ready to leave.
In the tense ride home, I was able to explain that I don’t enjoy natural springs. Then why the hell did we go, he wanted to know. I said I like the idea of them, thought this time might be different and I was trying it again. Once I put it that way, he said he appreciated my effort to try something out of my comfort zone. I am proud of myself for going and being open minded. I enjoyed my experience up close with the manatees and can’t wait to go see them again. From the boardwalk, of course, and I strongly suspect minus one hot guy.
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Like Kimmie’s dating escapades? Check out some of her other articles about what it feels like to be a single gal in a modern world: