Experiencing what it felt like to be blind, and gaining more empathy toward those who are, visually impaired, a very unique experience in life, translated…
The Ordinary Became Astounding
After the tickets were checked, we were first, sent to a conference room, couldn’t enter into the auditorium yet, turns out, that there was, a “Safety Seminar” that came later, I’d never encountered such a thing at a concert before; everybody needed to take off their glasses, turn off the cells, and, take off any and everything that is illuminating or reflective like watches, earrings, necklaces………the workers there apologized to us all, said, that this was a “concert in the darkness”, then, following this, we’d only heard sounds, and not seen a single thing.
A few month ago, my coworker gave me two tickets, and, asked me to go to a show that’s public every third Friday of the month, so, I’d, carried that sense of curiosity, and had a friend come along with me, I’d never expected it, to be, so special.
In the directions of the workers, everybody hesitated and entered into the auditorium. It was, completely, dark, after I’d surpassed an L-shaped hallway, the other person told me, “face me, do sit down”, I’d, hesitated a bit, and, touched around for the chair, and, was able to, make it out with my sense of touch, then, I’d, sat down. “If there’s anything you need, do let me know, but don’t raise your hands, because nobody here can see you!”, then, laughter came from all around me, I too, laughed, felt, that I’d, accidentally, barged, into their realms.
Time started going so slowly, every second got dragged on. It felt like I was, abandoned on this lone island, with only myself.
After I’d adapted to the darkness, I’d recalled how as I’d gone to a class blindfolded when I’d just entered into the world of the visually impaired some ten years ago, we’d privately joked about the visually impaired as “advanced class”. In order to lighten things up, the instructor treated everybody to coffee, as the class was in session, then, handed everybody a pack of instant coffee each, then, as I’d left my seat, I’d, bumped, into the table in front of me, every step became very hard for me, it felt like I was, on a balance beam, finally, I’d, bumped into the walls, I’d just, used the walls as my guide.
As I made my way to the drinking fountain, “hey, which button for the hot water? The one on the right, the middle, or the left?”, the instructor reminded us, to utilize our other senses, for instance, our senses of touch., then, someone told me, that they’d, felt the temperatures, and I’d, placed my hand to the opening of the water fountains, felt the temperatures, and that, was how I was, able to tell.
photo from online…
Back then, if I’d wanted to cheat, I could take off my blindfold, but not this time, my eyes lost their functions completely, so I can only, get involved with the darkness. And, my unsettled heart seemed to have, calmed back down, after two songs.
Walking between the songs and the performances, was the game. The announcer asked everybody to hear the sound—oh! Turns out, that there’s, this subtle difference to the door opening in the various super convenience shops, the sound of the insects, hiding by the trees, the thud of heavy items, dropped to the floors, the rain hitting the roofs,, the sizzling of the oil inside the pots and pans………all those voices that sounded so miniscule, became very melodic in the concert halls, it seems, that the darkness has a power, to change the ordinary into something that’s, magical.
The All-Exposed Sounds
During intermission, the emcee handed candy out to us, like a kindergarten. There were the sounds of people, rustling, to open the candy wrappers from behind me, as it came to our row, as my good friend sitting next to me had, handed me the piece of candy, did I, started, relaxing some. I’m not use to snacking on things in the movies or at concerts, and so, I’d, placed it carefully, into my purse underneath my chair, but, don’t know why, I’d placed that piece of candy, inside the zipped up compartment of my purse, could it be, that I was worried, that the darkness, might swallow it up, and take it from me?
In the celebratory sounds of the music, my good friend sitting next to me started sobbing, every measure had, moved her. I’d heard the sound of her using the tissues to wipe. She’d been, trapped by a love lately, she’d asked her husband for a divorce because her husband had an affair, and the lyrics told the stories of her state of mind, “Shopping alone, savoring the loneliness…………”, in the covers of darkness, the tears came quietly, as they’d found an outlet.
In a very short time, we’d made ourselves into a chorus line at the words of the emcee, and sang along in a song which everybody was familiar with, it was, very high, everybody sang in synchrony, like a box of echoes. I’d rarely hollered out “Encore” at a concert, but on that day, I’d used my hands as a loud speaker, and, hoped, that my voice gets transmitted to the front of the auditorium, this, was so unlike me, perhaps, it was, because of the covers of the darkness provided for me, I’d stopped, worrying about how I may appear.
At the end of the concert the announcer asked if any of us would like to share what we’d gained from this experience. Someone from behind me said, “I will”, then, the workers passed the mic based off of where they’d heard the voice. He’d started talking of how much he’d missed his own father for the decades since, I’d thought, that he was, off topic, but, not by that much, the voice felt all exposed, his breath, his tone of voice, his sorrows, he was, totally, genuine, and, although he’d talked off topic, his words still, touched my heart.
As the ninety-minute long concert was about to end, the light I’d longed for finally, appeared, at that exit off into the distance. It was, as if, I’d, walked through this darkened tunnel and finally, returned, back into the lighted world.
As I walked down the streets, I’d stopped at the red light, and, I’d, closed my eyes suddenly, and waited, to feel the light turning green but, as I walked across the streets, I’d, peeked and reminded myself, that I shouldn’t, gamble with my own life.
Although I’d worked alongside the visual impaired community for a long time, but, I’d not quite, immersed myself into their worlds yet; they’d lived in an environment, made by those who can see, how difficult it must’ve been for them to do so! I’d made a promise to myself, “From this day on, I will, be even more gentler toward them!”, that voice was, from the depth of my heart, and, although, these were, not really important words, I’d found the strengths in them.
So, from this experience, you’d gained a personal understanding, because you’d experienced it firsthand, just how difficult it is, for the visually impaired, to adapt to living in this world of ours, and, after this unique experience you will be, even kinder, even more understanding, toward those who have deficits in their lives. This experience of concert in the dark had, helped you gain more empathy.