Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be blind? How different the world would be! Daily chores, such as walking, eating, and interacting with family and friends would take on a whole new meaning. If you could be blind for one day how would your outlook on life change?
Would you be more accepting of those who are less fortunate? Would you put more effort into your own life knowing that you have the gift to see? Thanks to the , black cafe located in downtown Shanghai, I was able to experience being completely blind, for my evening dinner meal.
Upon, arriving to the black cafe with my brother and good friend, we were asked to choose our meal before hand. A chicken breast with a bowl of soup called my name.
After choosing our meal, we were lead up stairs, to begin our experience. We were introduced to our waiter Jeff, who was born blind. He politely asked us to grab hold of him as he lead us into a completely new world, taking sharp turns in the pitch-black hallways. Walking very slowly, we soon arrived at our final destination, the dinner table.
We felt around and took our seat. I starred into the blackness, expecting my eyes to soon adjust, minutes past yet I still could not see a thing. Losing the ability to see caused my mind to panic. Where am I? Why can’t I see? My mind knew one thing for sure; it didn’t like not having the ability to see.
After realizing my eyes were not going to “adjust” to this extreme darkness, I began observing this new found sensation. Both my little brother and close friend were frightened at not being able to see.
To kill time until our meal came, I felt around, first touching my brothers face, then the table, napkins, table wear, and salt shaker, all of which had a new kind of feel to it. Careful not spill our drinks on the table we felt around for our drinking straws to take an ever-needed sip. Being blind truly is hard work. Moments later our food arrived.
One thing I immediately noticed was the very strong scent coming off the chicken. Were my other senses heightened because I could not see? My soup came and the smell was just as strong. I asked my brother and friend if they had a similar experience in which agreed.
Being especially hungry I dug in, not paying any attention to my dinner edict, Surely I was going to take advantage of being able to use my hands 😀 .
After dinner, we sat around just taking in the blind experience. Not being able to see, it felt very strange to communicate. After all, 80 percent of our communication is through a physical plane, body language etc. I noticed myself paying more attention to each word individually.
One concept I found especially difficult to grasp was not being able to see facial expressions.
We truly do take that for granted, especially when it comes to communicating. I often caught my self-thinking, “what kind of face are they making now.” After a good hour of just talking we called for our waiter Jeff, thanked him, and asked if he could take us back to the real world, a world in which we could see.
Immediately upon being able to see again a wave of dizziness hit me. Within a feel moments this dizziness went away after my body readjusted to being able to see. The food was just sub-par in my honest opinion but I took away a life experience I would not soon forget.
My dining experience allowed me to gain great appreciation for the blind, not only for the blind but also for those that have to live each day being physically disabled. Being “blind” even just for a few hours I found to be extremely difficult, and inconvenient.
I remember thinking “it would suck to be blind” although I caught myself mid-thought to change my perspective into something positive. Instead of feasting on the negative, I began to be thankful of my talents and abilities and appreciative that I have all five of my senses and that they function.
I quickly began questioning other things, such as, what if I couldn’t hear? Couldn’t feel? Couldn’t taste? Couldn’t Smell? How would my life be different? I felt this thought process to be very rewarding.
Each and every one of us will have various handicaps throughout our life and how we deal with them is what truly defines our character. Nothing motivates me more than hearing stories of physically disabled individuals who rise above and beyond their physical “limits”.
We as good willed human beings must put forth a special effort in which we utilize our given talents and positively change the world.
Dining at the black cafe allowed me to channel my energy and focus on the things that truly matter to me in my life, but most importantly it caused me to feel a sense of gratitude and appreciation for all that I currently have, because frankly just for the simple fact that I am able to write this, I am more well off than most of the world.
That being said I feel obligated to share my passion for writing and personal to any one who wants to hear it. As Steve Prefontaine once said, “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.”
Open your eyes today.