That’s not something I say very often, but I decided this lethargic feeling that settled over me is in fact – boredom.
It’s not that I don’t have a dozen and one things to do … it’s just that I’m lacking a certain spark or motivation to anything other than overdose on Netflix. Since this winter isn’t about to let up any time soon and a trip to southern climes isn’t in my cards, I decided it was time to do something about this funk.
On my list of 52 New Things to do was something that’s always held some fascination for me – sensory deprivation tanks. You know what I mean … tanks of highly salinated water where you float in complete darkness and silence. It sounds like an odd thing for someone with claustrophobia to want to do, but curiosity is like an itch that eventually needs to be scratched.
That day for scratching had arrived.
I was surprised to discover there are numerous ‘float spas’ in the city. I had no idea they were so popular. It wasn’t hard to find one reasonably close (by city standards) and I attempted to book an appointment. “Attempted” is the key word … because they were BUSY and I actually had to wait to scratch my itch.
The day for my float appointment finally arrived and I fought my way into the flesh-freezing winds to a calm, warm oasis where my adventure was about to begin.
I arrived early – as instructed – to complete the required waiver. WAIVER?!
I discovered the waiver was really all about liability if you cause the float tank to be ‘fouled’ accidentally or otherwise. Seriously – the $1,500 price tag, plus taxes, makes one pause. I really want to know how often this happens.
I was escorted into a change room with lockers where I peeled off all the winter layers and put on the fluffy white bathrobe they provided. I was then taken to my private float room. After being given detailed instructions – including the need to take a mandatory shower before beginning my float – I was left alone with my pod for the next 75 minutes.
Inside the pod was a little bottle of fresh water to rinse my hands if I needed to touch my face, a dry cloth, and earplugs to protect my ears from the salt water. It included a light with a control switch inside the pod and an intercom switch if assistance was needed.
I showered up, climbed in, closed the lid (gulp), and switched off the light. The darkness was complete.
At first, I bobbed around like a cork – bouncing off the walls – until I was finally able to settle down and ‘relax’. I use the word ‘relax’ rather loosely because my head wasn’t having any of it.
With earplugs in, the sound of my own breathing and heart beat was deafening … and then I became aware of a rumble … is that what I thought it was? Are these really vibrations from the subway running below the street?
That rumble at regular intervals became a distraction I simply couldn’t get past and periodically I would obsess about being inside a closed pod. I would become convinced I was running out of oxygen and needed to crack open the pod for air.
Eventually I gave up trying to relax. I played around with the lights – there was a setting that changed the colours – and flapped my arms and legs around to create a mini wave pool. It was an excruciatingly long hour.
When the pod water jets finally turned back on signalling the end of my float, I climbed out relieved it was finally over.
I went into this experience expecting to achieve a zen-like relaxation. Instead I came out wired for sound. I’m bursting with energy looking for an outlet.
… and I have the softest skin ever.