Green Lizard's Blog

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Nothing to see here!

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“Line up in twos,
Wait in line,
This way please.

Dark curtaining in layers upon layers. Voices disembodied, floating in the air. In an invisible space surrounded but alone.

“Join this circle, this is Helen.”
A firm grip takes mine. A small squeeze reassures. Another hand the other side; another squeeze too. Move back; a smooth cold wall, solid and physically ‘visible’ at least.

Take a moment to breathe. Breathing in the dark is different. Initially shallow. Then more relaxed. Less intense.

Introductions in the dark. Name and first impressions. A brief flow of words; disappearing into space. Languages and foreign words. Some comfortable some less so. A collection of unknown voices.

Remember: With no voice, in the darkness you don’t exist!

A distant voice calls so we can navigate the pitchy blackness into another group. This time with reassuring furniture, tables, chairs.

Seated and surrounded, quiet but alone. There are tasks to be done. Views to be shared. Listening is crucial. Unfamiliar objects. Exploring with our hands. Reassurance is important but missing. Inhale the scent of wood, think carefully. Try to explain.

the silent hide in the dark. It’s safe.

There’s a space to look inwards when you cease communication. It’s an ostrich moment when you can hide. No one can see me. I can pull faces or scream silently.

There’s only directness. No smiling faces and no consolation. Straight speaking.

Those who hide cannot be confronted. Their quiet is a cocoon.

The task is simple. Take the puzzle pieces and tell your guide how to assemble them without touching each other’s pieces.

Keep listening, keep talking. Time’s ticking.

How did we do?

Competition is still there in the darkness. But how do you celebrate and bond over success?

Who are these people? Are they good at things? How can I tell? Age is no indicator of skill in the dark. Nor height? Perhaps the length of their fingers or their nails? The warmth of their skin. The length of their touch.

Resonance matters. Squeaky voices and dramatic pauses. What artifice will persuade the listener of my abilities too? Vocabulary, volume, tone? Do I sound like a fool or an expert? How can I tell. If my ideas are ignored is it with a silent sneer or a hidden smile?

Time for silence.

Time to hide.

Time to wait.

More challenges and feedback. Increased frustration. Wait. Listen. Pause. Resist the urge to demand attention. Resist the urge to explain why I know what to do.

Close your eyes in the dark. Think of sleeping. Hold your tongue.

Second challenge over. Incomplete but learned from.

Finally the party starts with invisible tea and cake. Trolleys to be shared. Plates and saucers that feel alien.

Knives, forks and spoons.

Don’t forget the table cloth!

Relaxing now. We understand tea and cake, apparently.

No volunteers for washing up though.

Candles are lit and light returns. How to feel less able. The amazing sight impaired leaders remain in their darkness while the less able guests are restored to their own security.

Have we grown or just escaped to our own comfort zone?

Confronting our limits is so important. Recognising how we communicate.

(I participated in a Workshop ‘Dialogue in the Dark’ it inspired me to write. )

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8 comments on “Nothing to see here!

  1. Expat Eye
    May 10, 2014

    Amazing stuff! And great writing šŸ™‚

    Like

  2. Rambling Woods
    May 11, 2014

    I agree…great writing…I guess the dark would be an interesting place to “meet” people…

    Like

  3. Helen
    May 13, 2014

    You have described the experience so well. Interesting to think that we have created a society and environments that mean others are disabled. A few small changes can increase or reduce the disability. Switching off the lights made me disabled. But I was not to be pitied because my unsighted guides made it a great learning experience. It was great to share it with you.

    Like

  4. Angelo
    July 29, 2014

    Very good info. Lucky me I ran across your site by chance (stumbleupon).
    I’ve book marked it for later!

    Like

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This entry was posted on May 10, 2014 by in Learning and tagged .

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