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!
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.
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.
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