Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Blindfolds and Burritos

Sorry it has taken soooo long to post this up but last Monday (the 30th) Guide Dogs of Texas hosted an event. They invited us all to a dinner where we can go and spend an hour behind a blindfold and try to eat like a visually impaired person would. This is a very typical situation for a client going to Guide Dogs of Texas. Its a very homey environment and volunteers come and cook lunch and dinner for the client everyday while they are in training. It was a very interesting experience with mixed reviews but we all got through it without too much damage.

One of the guide dog instructors guiding a blindfolded woman down a hallway.
One guest receiving sighted guide on her
way into the dining room. 
So, we were pretty much blindfolded right when we got to the door, they didn't want to give anyone a hint at the setup of the dining area because a client wouldn't know when they first got there so why should we lol? My group sat at the normal dining table at the facilities. They had set up another table for the other guests where the sitting area is. There were 4 staff members there; Sandy, Sarah, Kim and Lawrence, they walked us in while at the same time giving us a little demonstration and instruction of sighted guide. We learned some tips on how to properly perform sighted guide and I actually learned a lot. I mean, I did it with Darrell for the first year and a half of us dating but it was different being on the other end of it, some of the techniques I just naturally did with him they told us about and we also learned a few others.

 Anyways, while we waited for the rest of the guests to arrive the staff got us our drinks and explained how the dinner would work out a bit more. It was odd to sit there and not really have anything to do - I kept checking my drink and making sure where it was. The conversations was a bit strained at times as well. It was very quiet there for a while. Some people wanted to talk but the conversations just never really took off. Some people wanted to be left alone completely. My friend Chris for example later told us that he started to feel very claustrophobic and didn't like the experience much at all. He was also in the chair that everyone walked behind so I'm sure that didn't help with his trapped feelings.

two guide dog instructors stand by our table where there is 5 of us blindfolded, well darrell isn't but the rest of us are
Sandy giving us tips on how to best handle the meal.
Our friend chris sitting there with his forehead semi resting in his hand, he is somewhat bent over the table and looks stressed
Chris already feeling awkward while people walk behind him. 

Erin sitting next to Darrell at the table, they both have drinks in front of them and Erin is laughing
Erin and Darrell waiting for their chips. 
 After more guests started to arrive we were able to get on with our meal. Chipotle donated chips, salsa and burritos so that was our meal - I was really happy when I found that out :)
View of our table as a guide dog instructor spoons some salsa onto my plate, in the corner you can see Erin serving herself chips from a big bowl that was passed around
Sarah serving me some salsa. 

The salsa was honestly the hardest thing for me to eat. It was more like pico de gallo so it was very scoopable. I wound up using my plate as a barrier to stop the stuff from falling off. I would lift up the edge of it and fold it a bit (it was a paper plate) that way I could feel just how much pressure I was putting against the salsa with my chip. It worked out ok - others had more luck by using their fingers but I don't like using my fingers and wanted to try and not use them as much as possible. Obviously with a burrito it wasn't practical so hands were used there but everything else I tried to keep my fingers clean.
me using my plate as a border so my salsa doesn't fall off while I try to scoop it
See me using my plate?

close up of a woman's hands, she is using two chips to get her salsa onto one of them
 Here was another technique. One lady used one chip as a sort of utensil to help her scoop her salsa onto another one. We hadn't gotten utensils yet at this point so it was a very involving task lol.
me sitting with my dessert plate in front of me trying to eat my jello
 After all the chips and burritos were eaten we were given dessert. I had brought mini cheesecakes in foil cupcake sleeves, Sarah had made these amazing orange chocolate cookies - which afterward I saw were white and dipped in chocolate and drizzled with the orange stuff... when I was eating them my mind told me the entire thing was chocolate and had chips in them - not the case haha. They also had a challenge dessert for us. Jello with bananas in it - this one was hard and I did unfortunately get my fingers messy haha. I was trying to not let it flop off my spoon - ah well... thats what napkins are for I guess.

Erin eating her jello, she is placing a big chunk of some on her spoon
Erin obviously has no problem using her fingers haha. 

Bob under my legs looking back at the camera with a depressed look on his face
I didn't get a burrito :(
Oh, did you know Bob was there the whole time - I was actually really worried about bringing him.. I didn't know if I would get stressed and freak out but he did really well. He pretty much acted like he normally does when we go out to eat. He was really excited when we got there because there was a GDTx client there with her dog but he soon figured out he couldn't say hi and calmed down. Not until we were leaving did he go sniff crazy on the carpet - I was just waiting for it.. puppies can't resist the GDTx carpet haha!


Amanda Ellen said...

I am so jealous, I want some chipotle...lol Sounds like you had fun and sure Darrell had fun laughing at you too lol

Alphini's Puppy Raiser said...

What a challenge!! Yeah, Chipotle sounds good. :-D Chips & salsa are one of my main food groups...hadn't thought of how tough that would be to eat without being able to see, wow! And as usual...good job Bob. ;-)

dad said...

darrell finally got you guys back, even just a little while. way to go darrell!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ro said...

How did you get all the pictures since you were blindfolded?

I would be screwed if I didn't use my hands. Really I rarely use utensils. I remember at the Christmas party last year, I had ordered the salmon because I knew it would be easy to flake off onto a spoon. One of B's staff had gotten the steak and tried cutting it with his eyes closed. That was loads of fun. I would love to go to one of these events and just laugh my fool head off at all the sighties. ;)

Natalie said...

Haha i walked in and handed one of the staff my camera. It was odd to hear the clicking going off around me and wondering what she got a picture of.