I love the water–ocean, lake, river, whatever. Give me a chance to go in it (and some decent weather, of course), and I’m there.
So it was with great regret that about 6 or 7 years ago I discovered jellyfish and Portuguese man o’ war. After having been in the ocean dozens of times (growing up near Lake Erie meant most of my beach experiences had been in fresh water), I suddenly had a reason to fear the warm, salty seas of Florida, and it was unnerving. Could I ever go back into the water knowing these creatures capable of such painful stings were in there waiting for me?
Well, yes. I wouldn’t go back in on a particular day I was stung, but I would go in on the next one, and I would mostly forget about the stinging terror that lurks in the ocean.
Yesterday, I was reminded not everything in the water is soft and fuzzy when suddenly a crab grabbed my toe. Thought I didn’t know it was a crab at first, since I’d never encountered one before.
“That’s so weird,” I said. “It felt like a branch or stone or something latched right onto my toe.”
A few minutes later, my swimming partner felt it too. “That was a crab,” he said.
Blame it on my childhood on the lake, but I had no idea crabs could just be hanging out in the shallow part of the water, waiting to claw at unsuspecting swimmers.
In the next 7 or 8 minutes, I was clawed 3 more times, each one just as surprising as the last.
I finally had to get out of the water because I felt like every time I put a foot down, a crab was there to pinch me. It was unsettling, to say the least.
And I’m not going to say I’m never going back into the ocean–that would be one of the more ridiculous things I could ever say–but I am going to say I’m hesitant. Now that I know these spiteful sea enemies are all around me, it’s going to be difficult to make myself jump into the water with them.
I’ll do it, I’m sure. But crabs, if you’re reading this, please, please leave me alone. I don’t want to bother you any more than you want a giant human foot stomping down on you every few seconds.