The Martini Effect – Chapter 10 (One Dove Into the Cuckoo’s Nest)
(We rejoin our Dharma Drunk heroes on the downtown train, Marylou still searching for her dimly remembered bar.)
“Have you ever been scuba diving?” I ask Marylou.
She laughs. “No. I can barely manage a dogpaddle.”
“You can get nitrogen narcosis the deeper you dive,” I say.
“Nitorgen-whats-it?” she asks while squinting up at me.
“I was talking to a scuba diver at an Irish pub called the Cuckoo’s Nest one afternoon.”
“The English Premier League was playing on the TV. A bull’s skull and a televised lion’s head were staring down at us. The world is a strange affair sometimes.”
“The clocks in this place all wind in different directions. Time is a strange, elastic phenomenon in bars like these. Time doesn’t just go forward and backward. It slithers and coils and eats its own tail. It travels in many, many directions simultaneously.”
“This scuba diver I was talking to is telling me how you could get mentally impaired after diving 100 feet down because the compressed nitrogen you’re breathing is so dense. And, if you go down an additional 50 feet, it can feel like drinking a martini on an empty stomach. If you go down 50 feet more? It can feel like drinking a second martini on an empty stomach. If you go down 50 feet more? It can feel like drinking a third martini on an empty stomach. You can get confused. You can get anxious. Or you can get this rush of euphoria. This overwhelming rush of joy. Raptures of the deep, they call it. And you feel so good you don’t realize you need to resurface for air. You can lose your line. You can lose your buddy. And then you lose consciousness. And then you lose air.”
“Divers call it the martini effect,” I say to Marylou. “The deeper you go, the more clouded the mind gets.”
“Slithers and coils and eats its own tail,” Marylou says.
“Ain’t that life?” I say as I raise an eyebrow. “The deeper you dive into anything, the more clouded the mind gets.”
“Lose your line. Lose your buddy. Lose track of where you were going. Lose track of where you were coming from. Dive deeper and things get darker. Stranger. Raptures of the deep, Marylou. Time becomes elastic.”
“Slithers and coils and eats its own tail,” Marylou repeats.
(Tune in tomorrow for the next installment…)