TIME AND SPACE
One of the last things I did last year was to redeem a gift certificate that was to expire December 31. It was for a soak at Space Time Tanks -- you know, one of those places with the sensory deprivation pods where it's all womblike 'n' shit; the water is skin-temperature, it's dark, it's quiet and there's so much Epsom salt in the water that you can float on top of it. It seemed 80's new agey, and I was skeptical -- hence waiting until the last minute to go.
The place had several rooms with tanks. Mine smelled like a barnyard (not that there's anything wrong with that). There was a little shower outside where you were supposed to clean yourself off. As I did I fervently wished that those who'd been there before me had done so as well. I chose not to use the earplugs* and checked the water depth -- ten inches.
Then I went in. There was none of that shock you get when you go into a pool. I rolled onto my back and tested the water's buoyancy -- yes, I really could float on top of it. I placed my head in the spot opposite the door, so I'd know where it was. Then I got up and tested the door a few times; it opened. Each time I put my head down, though, I started to worry that I would start to spin and lose the location of the door. When I wasn't worrying about that, I'd think that my head was getting too close to the machinery behind me, and I'd be electrocuted. Well, at least there's no lock on the door. Then I'd worry about someone walking in on me. Then I'd think about the hygiene of the other tank users, and whether the salt would kill whatever diseases they may have had.
At some point I was able to lie back and watch my racing thoughts. Apparently these tank things are conducive to problem solving, meditation, and sleeping** etc. I tried to focus on resolutions, intentions, and things I wanted to happen in my life. And then I'd think about electrocution again, or marvel at my newly-discovered claustrophobia. I'd tell myself to relax, and every time I started to actually do so I'd think, "Wow, it's working!" and then I'd stiffen and the thoughts would start again until the mind quieted and I'd notice and the cycle would repeat itself over and over and over again. At some point I must have drifted off, because the next thing I noticed was someone a-knock knock knocking on my tank.
After some time I knocked back and slowly emerged from the water. The door was right where I thought it was, and when I came out I felt calm, high and clear -- like I did after those early yoga classes, or after a good massage. I did not feel deprived. However, while showering I noticed that something was missing. It took me awhile to realize that nothing hurt. All of my aches, pains and ailments had gone into remission***, and I felt light and happy. The calm feeling lasted for days, and was in full force later on, when I made my way in the rain through heavy traffic to deliver cookies to the mechanic and have him install my new door handle -- only to learn that he'd ordered the wrong part and I'd have to come back yet another f*cking time. I didn't even reach for my gun or take back the cookies or call him a c*cksucker or anything; apparently these tank things really do work.
*Eschewing the earplugs was not a wise choice, as every time I burped over the next few days I felt the water in my ears and worried that I was getting an infection.
**Apparently sleeping a few minutes in a tank is akin to sleeping for HOURS outside of the womb.
***The pain came back the next day, in full force, while I was practicing primary series. Hmmmmm....