Aspen Blind Cafe
Last night, I went, at the request of my mother, to an event called the Aspen Blind Café. I was a two hour event that started at 8:30pm and was dinner and a live music performance in complete darkness. When I say that you start to picture it, whether you intend to or not, but I will tell you now that you can’t. You have no idea. I went with my mom, my step- dad (Steve) and a friend of my mom’s (Kim) and her boyfriend (Brad).
We were led into the space by a blind server. He seated us at a rectangular table that sat 6. I was next to Brad and across from a woman who came alone named Sandy. From the moment that we entered the darkness, I was anxious. I was able to find the gift on my seat and sit down without incident. Although, I did think that the table was at a different angle than it ended up being, so I sat down at a funny angle. I was able to easily find my napkin and distinguish my wine and water. That part wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be and in a smart move from the organizers all the glass were short tumblers, so it wasn’t as easy to knock them over. However, what I didn’t account for is how small my world became and how much it freaked me out. While I was eating I was fine, because I was focusing on trying to cut my chicken. I ended up picking the chicken up with my hands, but I did manage to get my plate clean. I was proud of myself for that. I ate the salad, by stabbing my fork at the plate and shoving whatever was on the fork in my mouth. If anyone had been able to see me I would not have been a pretty site. It made me wonder how blind people eat without looking like animals. I mean that is serious skill. The food was really good. It was a goat cheese stuffed chicken breast with cheesy polenta and green beans. There was a salad with some awesome dressing made of champagne vinegar. It was all really good and interesting, because I loved it, but if I had known what was in it before I ate it, I wouldn’t have. So, that was a good experience, if only because it demonstrated that going outside of my comfort zone, could have a delicious outcome.
Then there was a question and answer period. No one at my table asked any questions, but there were a couple of people who asked some really annoying questions. It was interesting, because there was no way to subtly express my displeasure, because no one could see me. The only option was to vocally express it and that felt rude, but it was interesting to feel so handicapped in expressing my emotions.
At this point, our server read one of his poems to the room and I started freaking out. I had run out of things to eat and I was therefore out of things to do. I was forced to think about how dark it was. The only thing that was getting me through it was that I knew two hours had to end eventually and there was a small light, like one from a really dim green pen light up and in front of me to my right. I actually wasn’t sure at first that it was something that my brain had created, but when it didn’t move with my head I figured out that it was part of the room. Anyway, I was so focused on my mild panic, that I didn’t really experience the poetry. Weirdly though, when my mom was trying to figure out a line of the poem later I was able to repeat it almost verbatim.
Then they passed out the dessert, which was interesting. It wasn’t as hard as I would have thought it would be. Although the person carrying the tray hit me in the head several times, which was annoying. It was chocolate mousse topped with a vanilla amoretto mousse. I didn’t really like it and wasn’t able to finish it, as I was pretty preoccupied with the fact that it was dark. I set down my dessert and actually started to braid my hair into tiny braids, just to have something to do, so that I could calm down.
There was music after that. Part of the experience was supposed to be listening to music in total silence. That didn’t really happen and every voice and noise was so far beyond annoying. There was a male and female vocalist and a cello player. The male vocalist also played guitar. They had to keep talking to each other to make sure that they were playing the songs in the right key. They sang two original songs and then the cello played a solo song. Then there was another original song where they had us join in singing the ooos. Then sang a Beatles song and I continued to sing along, although quieter. For the last thing they taught us the entire chorus of a song and had us sing it. It was fun. It was interesting, because I had no fear and, so I was singing pretty loud. I didn’t care what I sounded like because no one could see me. Afterwards Kim told me that I had a nice voice and my mom said she liked hearing me, even during the Beatles song (I thought I was singing softly oops). She said I was harmonizing well, it was nice to hear that stuff. Then they lit candles and then turned the lights up gradually.
Overall, it was a great experience and the food was delicious, but I don’t think that I could do it again. Although, I would love to eat the food again.