The dinner, the dig and the discovery!

Dining In the Dark was a fund raising effort put on by DH’s work. This is the first time that I have attended. This is a moneymaking event in which sighted people purchase a ticket for dinner (in this case, $125 per plate) and eat the salad and main course in the dark. They wear sleepshades. The practice is suppose to simulate what it is like to eat your dinner as a blind person. this concept is not exactly new. supposedly, there was a restaurant in Europe that allowed patrons to eat their dinner in the dark and were served by blind employees. I can’t find a link for it, though. And, honestly, the fundraising event (although I would prefer it to be) was far from this concept. There are Dining in the Dark projects where there is not only dinner, but audio entertainment. And, a popular dining in the dark experience can be found dining in the Dark in California
There are serious flaws with this approach, however. Usually the patrons leave with an unrealistic approach: saying things like: “Wow, I have empathy for what you go through on a regular basis,” and “Oh, it is so difficult to do something that we take for granted.” and my view is that
if they think that it is such a challenge to just eat a meal while blind, why on Earth would they trust you with important business responsibilities???? Thus, any job offer that a blind person receives from people of said companies would be “simple” at best and “degrading” at worst.
Anyway, no one asked me and since DH went, I naturally went as his guest.
My daughter watched the baby. He enjoys her singing. Our new song to sing when she comes over is:
“Hey Little Mr.
Ain’t that your big sister
on the radio, the stereo, I think its time for us to go.
Hey little Mr.
You don’t want to miss her
when she sings to you tonight.”
Ok, that is a take off from a popular song: don’t know who sings it. But, it works. The baby enjoys my daughter. He usually smiles for her and she usually takes a couple of pics.
anyway, we got there on time. DH was an ambassador. that means that he was suppose to mingle with the crowd and tell them all about being blind and bosma. The alcohol line was longer than the auction line. There were a few appetizers being served and the smoked chicken was actually good. We met up with his friend Rasta (Yes, he is Rastafarian) and his fiancee. Rasta is a line supervisor in production. But, DH and he struck up a natural friendship when They realized that they both like technology, books (or at least acquiring them) and (the most important thing) **saving a buck or two. Rasta is from New York which means that he talks fast, and has a unique accent(his family is from Jamaica, even though he was born in the USA) and he also has this kind of stutter speech, which makes it even harder to follow him sometimes. but this does not detour DH in the least.
I guess the premise is to get the patrons “all liquored up” so they will spend more money. I think it worked. After a few informational videos about “bosma” and a speech from Brian Bosma, (the place was named after his father), we ate dinner. The lights went off and the sleepshades were given to sighted people to wear. Actually, some sighted people cheated and turned on their cell phones for light. (Can we say Losers?) We had a salad of greens, cherry tomatoes and candy/nut bits with a sweet dressing. the blind people gave the sighted people tips on how to spear their cherry tomatoes and how to make sure that their lettuce did not end up in their lap. the main course was a blueberry barbeeQ stuffed chicken with steamed vegetables. Actually, I liked the chicken verry much and so did DH. It was stuffed with Lentils and had a hint of spices in the stuffing. I have to get the recipe. Rasta was not at our table, but his fiancee did not like the food at all. Rasta does not eat meat. So, we discussed it on the way home. I remarked that it was much better than the award dinner that we attended in November. Rasta retorted that, although he had the stuffed mushrooms and not the chicken (his fiancee would agree and she had the chicken) it was certainly not worth $125 per plate. but, I pointed out that our plates were purchased by bosma, so, technically, we paid nothing for this meal.
Anyway, many of the sighted public had a difficult time cutting their stuffed chicken and knowing how big of a bite was on their fork. Frequently, they lifted their fork to their mouth with nothing on it. [Hey, it happens to the best of us — on a regular basis, sometimes]. But, I do have to ask: how much of this was due to their previous guzzlings. The alcohol was “free.”
the most interesting part of the evening was the occupants at our table. There were three ambassadors, DH, M (who I developed a good relationship with while working and who subsequently took over my job when I resigned) and her guest/sister, a guy from production and his sister. There were four sighted people at our table. Two women did not talk very much. But, there was a couple who sat by DH and I who were quite talkative. He is an artist and wants to make art accessible for blind and VI (visually impaired) people. He will be having an art show soon. they now live in Lafayette, but they use to live quite close to DH’s boss. Apparently, DH’s boss would go over to their house because the artist had a recording studio and the Boss plays a guitar and sings. The artist let him record and also showed his son the finer points of “beep baseball” — even though his son was not blind. Well, apparently, the artist — or artist’s wife got a job in another city, so had to leave the house behind to be sold by another company. Guess, what? We had looked at that very same house to buy. The price is very good — especially for that side of town. The sqft meet my requirements. There are some drawbacks, but this was one of the two houses that had survived our critique. Who would have thought that we would be sitting at a table with the former owners of a house that we were considering buying???? That coincidence was enough for DH. We put in an offer after returning home. My sister was also looking for homes for us in an adjoining county, where she lives. The houses are cheaper there, but there is way more driving and inconvenience. DH would have to take two busses to get to work and it would take him the better part of two hours. The costs outweighed the benefits. Yet, it was kind of exciting to fantasize about living near my older sister. she has four children at home: m13yo, f11yo, m9yo and m7yo.
Yet, our preferred home has a busline which is still difficult to get to. I am not sure that I’ll be able to do it with baby. We would have well water instead of city water. And, I am not sure if all of our stuff can fit into the 1600sqft home. but, it is a ranch style home, has three bdrms and 3baths and an extra room for the office. Yes, the extra room is built in an L shape with two cubby hole rooms (like recording knooks) at one end. that is kind of strange. There is a fenced in yard, a fenced off area where an above ground pool use to be, a long driveway, a basketball goal, lots of sidewalk(near the driveway, but not around the neighborhood), one garage and all appliances included(Washer, dryer [The electric element just went out on ours], dishwasher, garbage disposal, fridge/stove, built-in microwave, etc). . It was built in 1960, but has been rennevated. this means that it was not factory built. I like that aspect because it is built sturdy. The bathrooms are a bit small and the Master bath has only a walk in shower. And, it was built on a slab, so don’t know about flooding, yet. The septic is city sewer, but there is well water. The pipes are copper and the roof is relatively new. the furnace is gas (I’d rather electric). And, so is the 40gallon hotwater heater. I’d rather it be electric and 60gallon. But, I like the rooms and the floors. I like that there is a small place for a dining room table. I like the large kitchen. I like the fact that the office space is on the opposite side of the house as the bedrooms. so, we are going to try to buy it. I’d link to some pictures of the house, but I don’t want to give out my possible address. The asking price is under 100k, but, don’t think that we won’t bargain this down further. DH is Pakistani, after all.
Back on track:
After monopolizing the Artist’s time, we decided to do the “Diamond Dig.” There were games such as black jack and slot machines after the dinner. We did not play any of those. They didn’t even have “braille cards.” [but, I’ll get to the complaints in a minute]. After dinner activities consisted of various gambling options, a silent auction, a dance with a live band and the Diamond dig. we did spend $20 on a ticket for the “Diamond dig.” There was a large bin with shreds of paper or styrofoam or something similar. There were little pouches hidden in the paper. when we found a bag, we would take it to the person working the “dig” and would receive a prize which corresponded with the number that was written on a small piece of paper inside the little pouch. Basically, it is an updated version of “find the money in the haystack” carnival game. I dug and came out with this $3 piece of costume jewlry. Rasta bought 4 tickets and was rewarded with four pieces of the same type of jewlry. I was hoping to at least get a Starbucks certificate.
DH and Rasta didn’t like the music and Rasta’s fiancee said that there were only about six people on the dance floor at a given time. Granted, that would probably change as people’s alcohol consumption increased. Actually, I thought that the ban was rather good and tried to get their particulars to pass onto my daughter, in case they needed a backup female singer.
Last year everyone got a bottle of wine, but that was last year. this year, it was a chocolate bar — Can we say “downsizing?” The organization also did a better job at describing — or iluminating on the positives of blindness, last year…. at least that is what DH says. And, there were no braille programs and no braille cards. The auction items were not described for the blind people and were displayed visually, which means that they were not able to be touched… … although most of the items were certificates and such. there was no way to tell “what” exactly was in the auction. Although, if you knew and had the three digit number attached to the item, you could enteract with the auctioneers via your IPhone or smart phone. It would have been simple to make the auction accessible. There were limited braille menus (but I wondered why a menu at all since we wer all eating the same thing. And, Couldn’t they put the Braille menu into the entire program? And, to make matters worse, this year, Bosma Bacquired a Braille production department. The games were not blind friendly. There were only gambling games(they could have set up a few carnival type of games with a tactile theme or ringing/noisy balls, etc). Bosma could have done a better job at incorporating blind individuals into the planning process and putting on of the event. I know that a blind chef or a blind bartender was out… … not because blind people aren’t in these professions (See An article about Laura Martinez but, I am sure that the hotel has policies about contracting other professionals. Yet, only one (an Assistive Technology instructor — no, not DH),spoke out of six or seven speakers. Blind individuals could have helped with the roulette wheel, blackjack tables and diamond dig. Although I really enjoyed the band, for a better effect, they could have hired blind musicians. they could have had a couple of computers set up with some accessible computer games (like bowling or racing or shooting) and charged a small fee for the chance to try their luck.
There is an xbox game called “in the Pit,” which is quite accessible because you can’t see what is on the screen. Actually, “nothing” is on the screen and you must use your ears, only to navigate and find/kill the monster at the bottom of the pit — so “no one has a visual advantage. They could have also play some “blind Trivia,” for a prize. Bosma could have put together a “goodie bag” for each guest which would include pamphlets on blindness and interacting with blind people, an alphabet card and other miscelaneous items associated with blindness . It certainly was not blind friendly.
Yet, we still had a good time out.


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