I came across an interesting post by Justine Musk the other day, courtesy of John Hagel, who I subscribe to on Facebook. In her piece, Justine talks about (among other other things) the “Tetris Effect” that describes the phenomenon whereby playing Tetris leaves people seeing residual moving pieces of the game after they’ve completed playing, usually during periods of rest or prior to falling asleep. I’ve played Tetris in the past and haven’t experienced this, but it did remind me of something I have experienced that I think is related.
I was fortunate enough to have a swimming pool at home from the time I was 9 years old. We had just moved back to the San Fernando Valley, from West Los Angeles, after an ill-fated attempt by my father to work in a partnership with his brother. My parents purchased a new tract home on the border between North Hollywood and Sun Valley and they decided a pool was a good idea. This was Southern California, after all!
During the warm months of late spring and throughout the summer, I used to spend as much as eight hours in that pool. This was before the advent – to my knowledge – of sunscreen and is no doubt a direct contributor to my having a Melanoma surgically removed a couple of years ago. My parents use to call me a fish because of the inordinate amount of time I spent in the pool. Later on I swam competitively in High School, earning a school letter and several medal and trophies in free style and butterfly.
Many times, at night, I would have these vivid dreams that I could simply float and swim through the air, casually treading or stroking my way above the trees and houses in my neighborhood. These dreams were powerful and clear and I could feel the movement as I ascended and moved down the street. I remember well how I would have to keep treading if I wanted to hover over a neighbor’s house and how I could ease myself back down to the ground by merely slowing the speed with which I was treading. It was exhilarating.
Later on, when I was old enough to drive, I used to go surfing in the morning and return in the afternoon to go swimming in our pool. For a while, I could feel the waves in the pool, though they obviously weren’t really there. It was an interesting feeling that I remember quite fondly. I’m sure many others have experienced this “Tetris Effect” from things they’ve done in their lives. How about you?