Hi cuties. Happy HALLOWEEN MONTH! In honor of the year’s spookiest season, I decided to give you the gift of a fad that is perhaps (get out your finger wags, Hyperbole Police) the scariest thing you could ever do: sitting with your own thoughts for 2 hours.
My BRILLIANT, STUPID, GORGEOUS, SADISTIC coworkers Sara “LOLWONTTHISBEFUN4U” H. and Rob “GETHIGHOFFYOUROWNSUPPLY” K. brought to my attention the mysterious nature of this fad. While it has been around for quite some time, I thought it was bizarrobatman enough to try in 2015.
Pardon me! I’ve not yet told you the name of the long time trend! But, in my defense, it is in the title. You so lazy, friendo! It’s called Sensory Deprivation Therapy, a type of treatment you can find inside of a Sensory Deprivation Tank.
Essentially, people have been paying money to be put inside of a dark tank for a few hours without human contact. It is supposed to clear your head with its terrifying brand of meditation.
The tank is filled with a shallow pool of heavily salted water, and completely isolated to block out all light and sound. The water is supposed to create a feeling of weightlessness. The tanks tend to be tall enough for tall chicks to stand in, and big enough to for curvy chicks to float around in. AKA, big enough.
So there you are, in a completely dark, completely quiet pool of warm liquid you cannot see, floating without any podcasts to listen to for 2 hours.
At first I thought “I’d rather be dead” but then I realized this could be a great time to hang out with the coolest babe I know and practice jokes and sweet nothings. Who knows, I could even emerge from my coffin a new woman.
I made my appointment at Float Lab at their new Westwood office. Shiny! New! So excited! Sadly, those offices had an issue so they had to transfer me to their original Venice Boardwalk office for an appointment 2 weeks after my original time.
EXCUSE ME FOLKS, I WILL FREAK OUT IF I HAVE TO CROSS SOMETHING OUT OF MY PLANNER.
Add to this scheduling nightmare the fact that I’d have to find parking near the Venice Boardwalk, and this was becoming a halloweener scare fest!!
After driving 45 minutes to move 5 miles west, I arrived and finally found parking on some god forsaken Venice side street. I found my way to the Float Lab whilst listening to the dulcet tones of a man screaming “PUT IT IN YOUR BUTT.” Like a moth to the flame, I had instinctively found my therapy session.
I entered into a room that was not so dissimilar from what my bedroom looked like in 1998: lots of blacklights and tie-dye posters. The shoeless gentleman, Jared, told me to wait outside, and if I needed to use the restroom I could use the public chambers down the hall to the right. Relaxation is fluorescent lights in a Venice public restroom.
When Jason was done presumably blowing up an inflatable chair for me to sit on, he called me in to give the rundown. He let me know about their state of the art sanitation system (for real, thank you for telling me that) and gave me the ins and outs of isolation.
“But what about my precious sensitive skin?!” I begged, to which he assured me the salt water is wonderful for.
“But hey! What about my adorable tendency towards swimmers ear?!” I cried, to which to slapped me on the face and told me to let him finish.
He walked me through the steps: he would show me to my room which would include a shower and an isolation chamber. I would de-robe, put in earplugs, take a shower to be as clean as possible when I entered the tank (part of that whole ‘sanitation’ thing, rude), and submerge my neked bod into those dark waters.
The water is heavily salted to create the most buoyant experience possible, so ideally you do not want to get any water in your eyes. If you do, he hooks a towel onto a bar inside of the tank. The earplugs keep your ears pretty salt free, but Justin encourages you to wash them thoroughly when you take your second shower after your exit.
You can leave whenever you want, Jacob just asks that you lock the door to the office behind you. THAT IS CORRECT, I WAS TOTALLY ALONE IN THIS HELL HOLE.
I’m sorry, is this a Warewolf Bat Mitzva? Because shit is getting spooky scary.
I removed my proudly-unpeed pants and shoved those earplugs DEEP in- I wasn’t going to add “swimmers ear” to the list of ailments I was sure to have after this cess bath. I gave myself a quickie pep talk and made a promise to spend the next two hours not being scared out of my skull of the dark.
I walked into the chamber, laid down in the warm water, and was immediately reminded of my time in the Dead Sea. No, not because I was effortlessly floating at the top of the water, but because I recalled in the days before I went that they had the DECENCY to remind us not to shave before we swam! MY POOR HAIR FOLLICLES, FILLED WITH STRAIGHT SALT. I was not convinced that these people weren’t marinating me.
The chamber is in fact completely pitch black, and while there is technically no sound from the outside world coming in, there is still the pounding sound of your heart beat underwater, and the swish of the water beneath you. There is also the distinct smell of salty rubber.
Sensory NOT deprived, HAH!
Now, I should tell you, I wanted very badly to enjoy this experience. I had heard about mind altering visions, moments of ultimate clarity, anecdotes of immense happiness. This desire made my immediate hatred of the alone time very hard to accept. Couldn’t I just be chill?!
I calmed myself by counting how many times I could bounce off of one wall to the other (200).
I finally settled into the comfort of sedentary floating and heard my pulse steadily slow. I thought about my hopes and dreams and what wonders I could do with my life.
When I was lucky enough to finally get the song Gravity by Sara Bareilles out of my head (dang you, word association) I found myself exploring old memories of my god mother’s house. This is about as deep as I get, folks.
But the temperature was getting uncomfortably warm, and my legs were getting itchy, and time had no meaning, and I couldn’t remember where my god mothers downstairs bathroom was, and I had a new song stuck in my head that was really freaking me out, guys!
My mind spiraled into self aware blabber and suddenly the only way to prove my worth was to stay in that dam tank until that dam hippie Jesse told me it was time to get out. FUCK YOU FLEET FOXES, NOT NOW. I can’t deal with your sad shit at a time like this! I’m trying to overcome any mistakes I ever made by to proving myself to Jonah!!
Then I remembered something; that stinky footed stoner wouldn’t even be in here for my triumphant emergence! Consumed with the knowledge that my only audience was myself, my pulse raced faster and faster and my legs began to itch more and more.
I finally did the brave thing (don’t look at me like that, Dad) and decided to leave my self-imposed prison. I rised out of my watery grave, positive I would find I had only been inside for 15 minutes.
To my shock and awe, the clock told me I had been inside that pit of despair for 1 hour and 40 minutes! GUYS, I FEEL LIKE I KIND OF DID IT! I feel like I am kind of a great person for making it so long! I could totally last in The Shu!
I slumped to the shower to wash off ALL OF THE FUCKING SALT OH MY LORD. Perhaps the best thing to come out of this experience would be the exfoliated skin.
Perhaps the worst torture of the experience was yet to come in attempting to put back on my insanely skin tight pants. Like the Ross I am, I audibly groaned while I jumped around the room trying to slip those fuckers over my salted limbs.
After cursing the day I found out about BGDG stretch jeans, I made my exit to the lobby and had a look around.
How had I not noticed this before? On every wall, a mans face. Presumably the man who popularized this treatment was being immortalized in this dark drug den, illuminated by blacklights like Jim Morrison.
Did I wander into a Scientology center by mistake again? Get me OUT.
I locked the door behind me as Johnny directed and stumbled out to the street. I found that my exit was blocked by a dark alley newly filled with tents and decided to find an alternative route. My heels clacked down the hallway and through a garage door in the back of the facility and finally to a back parking lot filled with only one drunk dude. Efffffffffing Venice.
I crawled into my car like a women ashamed of a dissatisfying one night stand. I had a feeling that was a mixture of disappointment in myself, disapproval of the practice, and jealousy of the folks who dug it. How could my evening be saved?
Luckily, the angel that is Pop Music swooped in and turned my night around. Have you heard Carly Rae Jepsen’s new album, E-mo-tion? I know I seem like I’m joking, but the stuff if what high school Carly’s dreams are made of!
Just listen to that opening horn solo!! I got through most the album on my way back east, and sang out my hatred for hippie Jordan and his culty cohorts.
Next time I want a halloween experience, I’m going to Knotts Scary Farm where they have the decency to put the word “Scary” in the name.
A big ‘ol NOPPPPPEEEEE from me- and I have incredibly low standards for a good time! If you’re one of those #blessed people who enjoy float tanks, keep that to yourself and quit rubbing it in my face.