On a weekday morning, I climbed the stairs to La Casa, took off all my clothes, and, after showering, stepped into a large tub inside an enclosed chamber.Reading between the lines: The water is reused. Sorry, even though you took a shower, this is icky. I'm not getting the luxury of this at all. Why not take a bath at home with the lights off until you are beyond bored?
The water and air in the float chamber are skin temperature, the darkness is identical with eyes open or closed, and there is no sound—thus there is no external input. In turn, my brain decelerated until its output also slowed, and then stopped. I was suspended in a place with no space, or time, or purpose. Once in a while, some quotidian thought would begin to surface at the edges—did I respond to that email?—and then bounce around in the lonely void of my skull for a moment or two. But it would soon melt away as my brain realized it didn’t care. Back to the void.The author, Seth Stevenson — I just noticed I wasn't reading an article written by a woman — fails to mention the thought I know what it's like to be dead.
Here's the Wall Street Journal article that inspired Stevenson. The Journal offers some more info on the ickiness factor:
Many tanks today have robust sanitation and filtration systems that use ultraviolet light and hydrogen peroxide, and the centers test the solution regularly. The volume of clients determines how often the fluid is changed. Floaters are required to shower before entering the tanks, and have the option of wearing a bathing suit, though the centers recommend not wearing anything at all.I just want to say I hope no one masturbates. When you're in the tank, does that idea bounce around in the lonely void of your skull for a moment and then melt away as your brain realizes it doesn't care?
But this is the Wall Street Journal, and the really important thought is: What kind of business is a "float center"? The tanks cost $10,000 and floaters pay something like $75 as session. A float-center owner is quoted saying: "It's not a super-profitable business, but you get a lot of hugs."
How do you feel about running a business where you "get a lot of hugs"? Is that alternative compensation or is that another negative (along with the need for robust sanitation and the changing of fluids)? Here's Stevenson's description of himself post-tanking: "I emerged in a profound daze. I spoke slowly and quietly, like a smooth-jazz DJ." That's what will be hugging you.... speaking of things one might like to be sensorily deprived of.