A Birthday Party and Blindness at Whole Foods (Part 2 of 2)

29 06 2012

This post is a continuation of “A Birthday Party and Blindness at Whole Foods (Part 1 of 2)“.

The cashier noticed that I was leading Dao through each step and was emboldened to ask: “Is this permanent or temporary?”

Dao responded: “Temporary.”

The cashier:  ”How long?”

Dao:  ”About two minutes.  We’re trying to see what it is like to temporarily be without sight.”

Both Dao and the cashier smiled, and then we switched roles.  I closed my eyes and was directed through the store to the dining area.  My first reaction:  It takes a lot of trust to move without your eyes!

Dinner at Whole Foods: Bill, Charlie, Dao and Monica

Dinner at Whole Foods: Bill, Charlie, Dao and Monica

Following dinner, Bill guided me on a tour of the produce section.  Bill would bring me fruits and ask me to differentiate between them based on their scents.  We repeated this exercise in the herbs, soups and fish (!) sections and it was remarkable.

I successfully identified some of the items (I have a strong sense of smell), I missed others and I only recognized some smells after being told what they were as my brain was so used to receiving the visual information that the smells did not actively register without the image.

The Crew in the Whole Foods Cooling Room

The Crew in the Whole Foods Cooling Room

See No Evil: Charlie and I Leave Our Sight Behind

See No Evil: Charlie and I Leave Our Sight Behind

Dao then took over as my guide and ran through the store with me.  He claims that the running was very slow and more akin to a jog, but it felt like we were sprinting through the aisles and we kept making quick turns, which were frightening but exhilarating. This was a powerful exercise in trust.

Dao also played with temperature sensations.  He took me to warmer and cooler parts of the store, had me push carts in front of me and then told me to sit on the cart and pushed me through the supermarket.  Finally, all my friends put their hands in front of me and I needed to figure out who was who through touch and not sight.

How Fitting!  A Poster at Whole Foods for Deaf-Blind Awareness Month

How Fitting! A Poster at Whole Foods for Deaf-Blind Awareness Month

When I opened my eyes, my friends were making silly faces and the colors around me seemed so much more varied, bright and vibrant.

“Moments with Blindness” was incredible and I feel blessed for the experience.

posted by ayo

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2 responses

29 06 2012
Shuky

I’ve never commented before but this post really resonated with me. For my birthday this year myself and several friends went to dinner in complete and total darkness at the “Na LaGa’at Center: in Yaffo (BlackOut in English if you google them I think). It was truly and amazing and humbling experience, eating without seeing and becoming more intimate with my friends through sound and touch only! I believe that there are other locations in the world besides Israel for this unique experience, but otherwise definitely something to put on the to do list next time you’re in the area!

9 07 2012
ayo

Shuky, it’s great to hear from you. I’ve never been to the Na LaGa’at Center, but it sounds like something awesome to add to my to-do list the next time that I find myself in Israel. Thanks for sharing your experience. :-)

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