We All Float Down Here

A friend of ours did a float experience about a year or so ago, and I was interested. We got our own float center in Cowtown shortly after, and I just never got around to investigating further. It wasn’t until I was killing time and looking at day spas closer to home that I found one that offered a float tank.

For those who don’t know, a float tank is usually a big, uh, tank, and it’s filled with water (roughly the same temperature as your own) and it is filled with a buttload of Epsom salts. So much, that you cannot sink. You lay in this tank for an hour or so, sensory deprived or relaxing music piped in, and it’s supposed to relax you, clear your mind, etc. There’s supposed to be all these benefits associated with it.

I decided to go after a particular intense chiropractor visit where my spine and pelvis was trying to do some strange, and painful, circus act. It didn’t hurt that the first float at one particular spa was half off.

Not really knowing what I was getting myself into, I drove to the spa. After completing required paperwork, I was escorted to the pod room. A large, white egg shaped thing dominated the room and an equally large shower was in the corner. I was instructed to shower first to remove any lotions, hair product, etc. Then, get into the tank.

On a normal day, my mind races. I’m always obsessing over dumb stuff. Over stuff I need to do. Stuff I didn’t get done. My family. My friends. My job. My past. My future. What I am going to make for dinner that night.

Once in the water, your brain just slows down. Then, you realize that you forgot to put the ear plugs in. So, you get out, getting salty water everywhere, find the damn ear plugs and shove them into your ear holes and return to the water.

So, you are floating there, with the little purple light on because you like purple and it’s pretty, listening to the sound of your own breathing, until you reach up to scratch your nose and get salty water in your eyes and JESUS, MARY, AND JOSEPH…THAT SHIT BURNS!!! So, you blindly wiggle out of the tank, splashing salty water everywhere, trying not to slip and fall and bust your ass because salty water is very, very slippery. Stagger to the shower to splash clean water into your eyes. Verify that you are not blind, then return to the confines of the float pod.

All is quiet back in the tank and I turn off the purple light and just float in darkness. I let go of conscious thought and just let my mind wander, and it doesn’t wander very far, content to just be still and think of nothing. I’m just floating in 10 inches of warm salty water, drifting in and out of that place between sleep and awake. Time stretches forever until a voice comes over the speaker in the pod to let me know that my float is over.

I gingerly get out of the tub and shuffle to the shower. My back, my hips and knees. Everything feels great. I feel rested. Relaxed. Quiet and content. I shower the salt off and my skin feels amazing. My hair is a hot mess because I forgot to bring a comb. Overall, I feel improved. I’m not worried about anything. I could just sit in a chair and think about nothing until I have to collect Tiny Tyrant from daycare.

I vow to do this once a month. It will be added to my “Living My Best Life” resolution for the new year, which I totally just thought of 5 minutes ago. My actual resolution is more along the lines of “Work on Being My Best Self”.  It’s more than getting a manicure, it’s about enriching relationships that matter and pruning the ones that don’t. It’s about talking about how you think or feel instead of holding it all inside until it explodes later. Taking time to yourself to clear your head and approach life with a clean slate. Even it is means doing it in saltwater for an hour.

Just don’t get it in your eye.


Dan Brown Sucks and Other Observations

So, I read the latest Dan Brown book. I admit, I liked DiVinci Code. I liked Angels and Demons. I also liked Digital Fortress. I was meh about Lost Symbols, but I thought I would give Dan Brown another chance and read Inferno.

It’s safe to say, I’m probably done reading Dan Brown books. I’m not saying he’s a horrible writer. But, once I figure out an author’s “formula” or rather, their plot skeleton, I just give on them as a writer. It’s why I don’t read anything by Mary Higgins Clark. In Dan Brown’s case, his stories involve confirmed bachelor Langdon an his annoying tweed jacket and Mickey Mouse watch, a beautiful, yet mysterious woman. And those two are usually on the run from a big bad. A bunch of art and history is thrown in. And the plot twist is something you least expect it. Only Brown leaves subtle bird crumbs so you can usually figure out the plot twist.

Inferno…I had hopes. The book starts off right away with action and drama! And art! And history! And a missing Mickey Mouse watch!

I’m going to drop some spoilers, and I won’t feel bad about it either because the book was a huge letdown. At any rate, the book touches on a group of people who believe the human population is growing as such a phenomenal rate, that overpopulation will be the cause of our own extinction. The antagonist of the story has seemingly made it his own personal crusade to prevent this from happening. Langdon and his potential next hit-it-and-quit-it are in a mad race to prevent a cataclysmic event (in the form of a floating Balloon of Doom) from happening, all while chased by people who seemingly want to kill them.

In the end, the “good guys” get to the Balloon of Doom, only to find it not very floaty anymore. The horrible virus has been released, containment of this alleged virus has been breached, and everyone prepares to wait for the population to keel over with a lethal case of syphilis (or whatever).

The twist of the story is that the virus isn’t all sickly and deathy, but rather a DNA-altering virus that will randomly make at least a third of the global population sterile. Everyone in the know still freaks out. The book ends with the scientists going off to some summit to figure out who to cure the virus.

At this point, I put down my e-reader, considered what I had read, and thought, “I’m completely okay with this sterility virus. What a shitty ending.”

I explained my feelings on the matter to Log, and he replied, “Any intelligent person would have that reaction.”

I’m not endorsing genetic thinning of the herd, although I would make a very compelling case as to why some people should not reproduce. I don’t condone genocide, or any type of -cide for that matter. But, at some point, global population is going to get out of hand, and it’s really going to bite humanity in the ass. People really should take a closer look at the world, and not just their own little bubble they live in. If they did, they would probably be just as worried, if not more so, than I am about the future of not just our country, but our world.

A little worry about what passes for good storytelling might not hurt either.