BLIND FOR A NIGHT
This was something I ticked off the bucket list before even realising it was on there to begin with.
I’d never given too much thought to functioning in complete darkness, other than the occasional AM fumble to the loo, or the one time I watched Dating in the Dark. But as we lined up single file and were instructed place our left hand on the shoulder of the person in front of us, I felt a serious pang of unease.
Heading into what I assumed was a reasonably small space, my claustrophobia, perhaps phantom in this case, instantly kicked in. I felt the chain break almost immediately, as the woman in front of me ran back the way we just came. Half wanting to follow suit, I persevered, knowing I’d be mad at myself if I missed out. In hindsight kicking off the evening with a couple of wines probably helped a fair bit.
Once inside, my eyes remained wide open and I could swear I barely blinked. Our guides/waiters led us to our tables, where we would/should remain seated for the next two or so hours. Using verbal cues, they pointed us in the direction of our evening necessities: wine, water, cutlery, and food. Although the cutlery was almost unnecessary, as I spent the majority of time prodding or scooping at my food (graphic, apologies).
The conversation; I’m sure you can imagine. We talked about how surreal it was, how good the wine tasted and how our eyes felt as if they’d adjust to the point where we could see. We noted our superior senses and admitted we were scared, but mostly, we talked about how we couldn’t wait to see again.
It would be the second time I felt uneasy that night. As the guides who had navigated the unknown for us and served each of our courses, were actually blind, or visually impaired themselves.
I couldn’t quite imagine what it would be like to overhear conversations of strangers commenting on your world, speaking of it as an experience rather than a truth. It was this that made the evening all the more special, and perhaps why it has been on my mind ever since.
I got chatting to our guide, Tamati, who alongside working two evenings at Dans Le Noir, enjoys training sessions at Shane Cameron’s gym. In partnership with the Blind Foundation, Dans Le Noir swings the pendulum on traditional power balances, making for a thought-provoking and pretty inspirational occasion.