On World Sight Day last week, my friend and I blindfolded ourselves and ate breakfast at Snooze, a very popular breakfast place in the heart of San Diego. We did this blindfolded activity as part of the #HowEyeSeeIt campaign by the Foundation Fighting Blindness.
When I first got to the restaurant, I was a little nervous. I told the host about the challenge and asked if it was okay for us to do it, and he was very supportive and excited about it! He decided to seat us in the middle of the restaurant to get more exposure and, in turn, raise more awareness.
After we took a look at the menu, we placed our order and the blindfolds went on! The first thing I noticed was that I could hear so many conversations around me, and I wasn’t even trying! I guess my auditory sense heightened automatically with the loss of the visual sense. The first thing that my friend, Julian, noticed was that muscle memory kicked in right away and he knew exactly where the table was in relation to him and where his glass of water was without a problem.
While we waited for our food, we tried to experience the space with our other senses. Although we saw what the space looked like before we put the blindfolds on, we also noticed a lot while we couldn’t see. We could feel which walls were closer to us along with how close other people were to us. We also pointed out the smell of toast at one point. Julian and I wondered how successful we would be if we tried to give each other a high five, so we did it and we didn’t even struggle! We tried it again, using opposite hands, and it took a few seconds longer this time. The first time we did it, we didn’t say which hand we were going to use, but the second time we did and that was when we struggled a little bit. I guess that goes to show that things flow smoother when you don’t overthink it.
When the breakfast burritos came out, the server explained to us what was on our plate, including the 3 different salsas on the side and we didn’t seem to have a problem eating (except when I dipped my finger into the salsa).
We were more focused on our food with the blindfolds on. I paid attention to the texture of the burrito and even how they cut it. I definitely felt less distracted during this experience. We both noticed that we were blindly staring at each other, whereas if we could see, we would be looking all over the place. The hardest part of this experience was getting the server’s attention.
Should we raise our hands? You raise your hand…no, you! Should I whistle?
We wanted the server to take a photo of us, so I raised my hand to try to get her attention. At first, I waived my hand up and brought it down, thinking that someone would see me. After no response, I raised my hand again and kept it up for 2 minutes…and still no response until I started waiving my hand for another 15 seconds, the server showed up (I know it took this long because I recorded the audio of this experience).
The goal of the challenge is to experience the world through someone else’s eyes. It taught us how to do an everyday task in a different way. It is crazy to think that such a simple thing, like getting the server’s attention, can become a little difficult. Not only do we appreciate our sight, but we also appreciate the skills and strengths of those who have low or no vision.
People at the restaurant were asking the server about what we were doing, and some people came up to us after we took our blindfolds off asking about our experience. Snooze’s motto is that it only takes a moment to make a difference, and I truly believe that the experience we had there really made a difference in our lives and how we see things now. I would like to challenge you all to do an everyday task blindfolded and see how much you can learn about yourself and about your environment, and then share your experience in the comments below!