Sunday, March 6, 2011

Living In The Dark

I just walked all the way to the kitchen, in the dark, reached for a glass in the cupboard, and poured a glass of water from the sink.  In the dark.  A full glass of water.  Not a light on anywhere, and I didn’t spill a drop.

Not really groundbreaking material, but it reminded me of why I know how to do that.  I’ve always worked in a dimly lit environment, but tonight, this reminded me of why I can do things like this.....

I grew up near the state school for the blind.  In fourth grade, our teacher invited their fourth grade class to spend a day with us, in our classroom.  We would share desks with a ‘buddy student’ and spend the day, seeing the world as they see it.

My assigned buddy, Darren, was a little taller than me; stocky, and walked with his eyes closed.  Odd watching a person walk around this world with their eyes closed.  (metaphorically we see it all the time)  I guided Darren to the coat room, where he hung his coat on the hook next to mine.  He had his hand just on my right elbow, as we navigated through the rows of desks.  I bumped into about 3 desks as we reached our seats.  He giggled, and commented that “I should know where the desks were.”  As we walked, he gently touched each chair and desk.

After our morning studies, Mrs. Jennings instructed us to allow our sight impaired Buddies to lead us to lunch.  Darren, got up, put his hand out, and said, “Follow me.  I’m starved!”  He put my hand on his elbow, and he walked me out of the classroom.  As we walked, he told me how many steps it took to get past the 4 desks and chairs, and that we must turn left before the bookshelf, and then take 17 steps to the doorway.  We would then go to the right, and as he touched his hand along the wall, he told me it was 5 doors to the lunchroom.  He guided us to a table near the windows.  He said, “I like to sit in the sun, it feels so nice and warm. Are we having pizza today?  It smells like pizza.”  I was completely dumbfounded.  Darren had been in my school for less than 3 hours, and knew more details about our classroom and building than I did, and I had been there for 4 years!
I can find anywhere in my house now.  It’s a matter of closing my eyes, and visualizing what I can actually see every day.  I can pour that glass of water, because Darren taught me to listen to the water.  As it fills the glass, the noise gets higher in pitch.  You can drop a finger over the lip of the glass to make sure you don’t spill anything.

Darren, thank you for your gift.


  1. Wow, what a touching post. The gratitude was genuine and sincere. Nothing for me to be snarky about even. That is quite an accomplishment sir. Loved this.

  2. What a cool teacher to come up with that idea! Will experiment. I run into everything.

  3. The State School for the Blind... Morse and High, right? Across from Graceland? I didn't know you lived there... thought you lived around Beechcroft as a kid.

    You knew I'd love this story. But beyond your show of childlike gratitude all these years later, I like that I can do the same thing with a water glass... pitch and the finger dip. Ha!


  4. Km- Happy you enjoyed it. Nice light reading for the weekend.
    Randy- See? I'm not all smut all the time. :-)
    HM- I was pretty blessed in my elementary years with very creative teachers.
    Brandi- *blush* Aw shucks. Thanks!
    Linda- Yeah, down by Graceland. We lived there through my 6th grade year. Amazing what sticks with us, isn't it?