I had the most incredible experience the other night. I was asked by a friend if I was able to volunteer for a fundraiser for The Sight Center of Northwest Pennsylvania. I had nothing scheduled for that evening so I said yes. They do an interesting event called Dining In The Dark. The idea is that all participants are blindfolded so they can experience what dinner might be like for a blind person.
I was a table coach. It was my job to lead my blindfolded table-mates to their table. I helped them find their seats. I also helped orient them to where things were located on the table: forks, spoons, napkins, water glass, wine glass, etc. I let them know when something was served. I watched to see if they needed assistance with anything and then assisted them.
While I was acting as a coach, it was interesting to me to hear the comments of the blindfolded participants. When something was served, they would try to discern exactly what it was or what was in it. For example, when the salad was served they tried to identify each and every ingredient in it. The soup was easy, pumpkin soup with pumpkin seeds sprinkled on top. The main meal was pork shank, risotto and turnip cubes. As coach, I wasn't allowed to tell them what anything was. It was interesting to listen to the discussion about whether the meat was veal shank or pork shank and whether it was turnips or potatoes. They immediately identified the risotto. Although I enjoyed coaching, I envied them their experience.
After dinner, when everyone was allowed to take their blindfolds off, they were telling me about their experience. One woman in particular said how difficult it was for her to not see the color, texture, or presentation of the food.
It's amazing the things we take for granted. Those people had this experience for 2-1/2 hours and had a difficult time with it. But they did it knowing that shortly they would have their total eyesight back. Think about the people who have to live this way all the time. They are courageous. I have such a new found respect for them. I guess that was the whole point of this event. I have to say, it was a real eye opener.