The next time you sit down for a meal, try this. Close your eyes, and start eating your dinner. Keep them shut, no peeking. See how long you can go without looking at your plate. See how long you can go without spilling your glass of sweet tea or red wine. See how long you can go without tipping over the salt or pepper shaker – or dropping peas on your lap. And see how long you can go without becoming frustrated at doing something that usually comes so naturally to you.
I recently had the chance to eat my meal blindfolded. I participated in the Vision Resource Center’s annual Out Of Sight Dining Event Nov. 18 at the Hellenic Center on Oakridge Avenue. It’s the organization’s premiere fundraising event, and it also raises awareness of the challenges the blind or visually impaired face daily.
It wasn’t a pretty sight. I cut my meat, potatoes and asparagus in chunks way too large to fit into my mouth, at least for someone who’s supposed to have some modicum of table manners. Sometimes the morsel at the end of the fork would miss my mouth and smear my cheeks with whatever sauce or gravy enveloped it.
At one point, I cheated and extended my finger onto my plate, hoping to locate the next portion I planned to cut into a more suitable size, stab with my fork and transport to my lips. But the saw teeth on the knife rubbing across my fingers made me think twice about mixing my digits with a steak knife.
Now imagine having to eat all your meals without sight. But eating without seeing is only one obstacle people with limited or no eyesight face.
There are other daily challenges like not tripping over the Ottoman someone put in your way or seeing who is at the front door ringing your doorbell. Or, simply wanting to find something you dropped.
Remember this: The loss of sight can happen to anyone at any time. It can be present at birth, the result of an accident or just from getting older.
If you want to experience firsthand what it’s like to eat a meal without sight, contact Terri Thomas, executive director of the Vision Resource Center. She and her board annually put together a blindfolded dinner for the public.
The Vision Resource Center is located inside the Dorothy Gilmore Recreation Center at 1600 Purdue Dr. You can also check out the website at www.visionresourcecentercc.org/contact-vrc.
This year’s event included both a silent and live auction with awesome prizes: Myrtle Beach Golf packages, Caribbean cruises, a weekend at an oceanside condo and more. Local radio personality Goldy served as master of ceremonies and auctioneer. There also was live music and dancing.The money raised helps the Vision Resource Center pay repair costs for an old van that transports sight-impaired clients to social and cultural events. The van travels about 22,000 miles a year.
Donations also pay for life-skills training that help the more than 200 children and adults in the program become more independent and self-sufficient. Training includes basic housekeeping, money management and growing food in their own gardens.
So, if you ever want to know what it’s like to chow down on food without being able to see what you are eating, try eating your next meal blindfolded, or better yet, come out for next year’s Out of Sight Dining Event.