I went for a float today, Internet. For those of you unfamiliar with floating it’s where you enclose yourself in a sensory deprivation chamber and float suspended in saltwater in the pitch black darkness of a steel womb. Or something like that.
I know what you’re thinking – how clean is the water? Well, before I went in the guy showed me the state of the art filtration system that uses filters, oxygen, and UV light to clean the solution after each use. “Twenty eight people floated this weekend.” He said. “Imagine how filthy this water would be if we didn’t clean it? People pee, and sweat and bleed – I mean, I don’t know! All kinds of gross stuff.” Yeah. If he was trying to make me feel better about the water quality it wasn’t working. After a bit of a science lesson I began to feel a little less grossed out. I shrugged. Hell, people bathe in the Ganges and live to tell about it, right? This couldn’t be worse than that.
The float center consisted of the reception area, a waiting room, two float rooms separated by a large room that held the filtering equipment, and waaay down the hallway was a bathroom. I had researched the place beforehand and in addition to learning about the filters, I also read that the saltwater makes you really thirsty and to drink a lot of water before going in. I used the restroom right before going into my float room.
The float room is a tiny little room that has the giant float tank along one wall – I’m not gonna sugar coat it for you, Internet; it totally looks like a cremation vault or what I imagine gas chambers could have looked like in WWII. So there’s that. The rest of the float room is a shower stall and a small shelf with ear plugs, and a hook for your clothes. That’s it. Notice I didn’t compare it to a bathroom, because there isn’t a toilet in there.
Okay, so, I stripped down, rinsed off, and entered The Tank. At first I left the vault door open a crack so I didn’t get turned around in the tank. Ain’t nobody wants to get lost in a dark, salty tank. It was definitely different than anything I have done before. I kept asking myself, “Am I relaxing?” and answering myself, “I guess so…” After what I’m guessing to be about ten to fifteen minutes I figured I was an old pro at this floating business and decided to close the vault door all the way. I was so glad I did! It was exponentially more mind blowing to be in complete darkness. Suddenly I felt like I was floating in space. It was surreal. It was neato. It was rad. It was any number of nineteen-eighties catch words.
Then I realized I had to pee.
I held it. I held it for a good long while, sacrificing true relaxation for the greater good of the floating community. But then I couldn’t hold it anymore, Internet. Getting out, showering, drying off, dressing, and hiking down the hallway to pee was out of the question. Now, let me be clear here, Internet. I don’t pee in pools. Your hot tub is safe from me and my urine. But I do pee in the shower, and on occasion I have been known to pee in my own bathwater. Half of you just retched and exclaimed loudly, “Eww, GROSS!” and the other half of you just thought, “Yeah? So?”
Anyway, as I floated in the steel womb I thought it must be about as close to experiencing being inutero as a person can realistically get. Then I thought about watching Brecken go pee during the ultrasound where we found out his sex. You could see his bladder go from black to empty. I thought back to the guy praising the filtration system, basically telling me to go pee in the tank, and I thought about all the time I was wasting thinking about peeing when I should be floating in space. So I peed.
Then I peed again.
And again, fifteen minutes later.
All in I peed five times in that tank you guys. By the time I got out I was probably floating in 50% urine. I know, I’m really selling you guys on this whole experience, aren’t I? I would like to survey a bunch of people who have floated and ask them if they peed in the tank while floating. Half of them would say yes, and the other half would be lying. Nobody hydrates up, then spends ninety minutes floating in warm salt water and doesn’t go pee. It just isn’t done.
In closing, I would definitely recommend floating at least once in your lifetime. It is rather relaxing, and it helped alleviate some shoulder pain I’ve been having because apparently I have forgotten how to sleep without contorting myself into a twisted knot. If you’re skeeved out by all the peeing that’s fine, I get it, but just think about all the times you’ve been in the ocean or a public pool. You already marinate in pee all the time. You might as well have fun pretending you’re floating in space while you’re at it.