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Remember the sensory-deprivation-tank in Altered States? I always wanted to do that. So today I did. No ayahuasca, just the tank.



Float On, it turns out, is a wonderfully funky handmade-looking place up on Hawthorne. With its comfy old sofas and bookshelves of miscellany, and its little thinky toys and its air of pretty-colored tranquility, it reminded me of...well, of 1985.

A beautiful young man who looked like some kind of deity greeted me and explained things.

It's simple. You shower off, and get in the tank and shut the door. You spend an hour and a half in a completely dark, almost completely silent environment containing about ten inches of body-temperature water that has been super-saturated with eighty pounds of magnesium sulfate, aka Epsom salts. It is so densely salty that not only do you float, but it takes real effort to put even a foot down onto the floor of the tank.

So you drift in pure darkness and something a bit like low gravity, and your skin starts soaking up the magnesium, and you relax, and relax, and relax...

I didn't hallucinate or anything, but time passes oddly in the pitch dark and silence. I had my arms stretched out over my head, and now and then a fingertip would come into contact with one of the tank walls. I'd give a minuscule nudge, and several minutes later, I'd have drifted the eight or ten inches it took to bring a toe into contact with the opposite wall.

This slow drift back and forth amused me for a good hour.

Fatty portions of the body float better than lean parts, so my ass felt amazing, while these strange bumpers of fat floated like independent entities where I wasn't expecting them, out to the sides. When I'd lift an arm out of the solution to shift it, it seemed to weigh a ton, so I'd drop it again. At one point I tried to sit up, but I was too floaty, and slipped back to a lying-down position. Eventually, my neck relaxed. I don't know when that last happened.

When your ninety minutes are up, the godlike young man pipes in some quiet music, and you clamber from the photon-less tank out into the dimly-lit room, where there's a shower and a towel and some vinegar to help get the salts out of your ears and hair.

You emerge into the daylight of the shop keenly aware of light and sound. I spoke, and felt like I was shouting. There is water and tea, and other customers emerging from other tanks with whom to exchange languorous smiles. I was so relaxed that it didn't even cross my mind to check my messages. That's relaxed.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth, where there are comments. | Comment at Dreamwidth.

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