Resolutions have sobering statistics. For the 30% of Canadians who spent New Years day turning over a new leaf, over 70% will eventually fall back into old habits. While January proves fantastic for fresh starts, the gray days of February sneak in and steal the sparkle from your shiny new goals until you barely notice them as you march by into Spring.
My New Years Resolution to publish a blog entry once a week was no exception. My husband was able to arrange his holidays to coincide with March Break so the last 7 days flew by in a flurry of activity. Even with such a busy itinerary, I did try to stick to my schedule. On the last day of my dead line, after discovering a bit a quiet, I snuck away to open the computer and quickly write something down, which apparently sent a signal to all the children in the house to come out of hiding and talk to me at exactly the same time. I decided to give up gracefully.
For me, blogging is a long process. I need at least an hour to catch up with current affairs to see if anything catches my interest and sparks my muse. I need time to decide on my topic and then time to research it. I need to find visual inspiration and then I have to actually write and don’t even get me started on the editing process.
I could do it faster. In real life I’m all about efficiency (which I can tell you from experience does not work as a defense in the face of a speeding ticket) but blogging is my opportunity to stop and smell the roses. A virtual post it note stuck to the mirror reminding me to be kind, especially to myself. It’s the difference between grabbing something to drink from the Tim Horton’s drive thru or performing a tea ceremony. One is about sustenance for the body…the other is for the soul.
So I refuse to feel bad. If I had been investing the same amount of time towards a resolution that involved a gym membership and weight training, my healthier, toned spring break body would deserve a week off to eat calorie rich food and drink liver damaging beverages while laying on a beach perfecting my walrus impression.
Unfortunately after 10 weeks of taking time for literary reflection, my frame is still un-toned and generally weak. In fact physically, my walrus impression is probably bang on, but I choose to believe that I’m sporting a significantly healthier frame of mind and was in better shape to spend a week trapped in a small car with 5 people who all wanted to listen to different radio stations as we day tripped and adventured in the big city.
Still, I missed the chance to share my struggle to adjust to daylight savings time (March 13th). We gorged on lemon meringue and pecan pie to celebrate Pi day (03/14) and didn’t invite anyone to the party. My St. Patrick’s day trivia was wasted on an audience that had heard it all before (March 17th) and Earth hour came and went without the opportunity to shine a spotlight on climate change by reminding everyone to sit in the dark (March 19th). But all is not lost.
I can share with you our exercise of sitting in the dark.
As part of our March Break adventure we visited O.Noir Toronto, a unique experience where patrons dine in complete blackness while being served by the visually impaired. A socially conscious concept designed to give guests a taste of the sightless world.
While the kids were gleeful at the prospect of a culinary version of blind man’s bluff, I was wary of dinner conversation being held without the benefit of being able to see if the teenager was rolling her eyes. I also worried at the ability of my youngest to navigate in the dark when walking in day light sometimes poses problems and resembles a panda bear boozing it up.
I was pleasantly surprised on both accounts. The kids behaved wonderfully and really enjoyed the entire encounter.
After having an opportunity to look at the menu, the hostess introduced us to our legally blind server in the dimly lit bar area. We were led into a transition room where we were positioned with our left hand on the shoulder of the person in front of us, before being shuffled into the pitch black dining room. As the kids giggled from the front of our visually impaired conga line, I brought up the rear with a more somber perspective. I was immediately assaulted by the darkness and the clatter of cutlery. As the haphazard leader of this rag tag group of cractpots I am not unfamiliar to finding myself in strange situations but being unable to see the situation at all was entirely new. I sat rigidly in my chair, afraid to move, unsure of my surroundings and unable to relax. I was obviously the exception to the rule. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed their meal and most of us even went so far as to order surprise appetizers and entree’s to enhance the experience. I struggled to try to imagine how my food was presented which was easier with my entrée of prime rib, mashed potatoes and green beans but significantly more difficult with an appetizer of broccoli, wilted arugula, balsamic dressing, and goat cheese (we think).
The meat was pre cut which was a relief because after spending 20 minutes trying to butter my bun I worried that I bitten off more than I could chew. It was strange not knowing which mouthful was your last and I’m still not sure if the kids ate all their vegetables, although they did all get dessert.
The idea of dining in the dark, is that your other sense will be amplified so that you can focus more fully on the aroma and taste of the food for an heightened culinary experience. I found that I was more aware of the conversations of the other diners and found myself distracted trying to place them in a room that I didn’t know the dimensions of. Still, my daughter and I got a good giggle hiding my husbands drink and it took him almost half an hour before he admitted that he had lost it. Of course, this was exactly the kind of behaviour I lectured the kids against before arriving; sometimes it’s good to be Queen.
I would absolutely suggest this restaurant to friends and family as a novelty to be tried at least once. As unnerving as it was, it was also enlightening and really accentuated how visually oriented I am. As well, I was amazed at how bright the bar area looked upon leaving the restaurant when I had remarked on how dark it was when I first arrived.
I couldn’t imagine participating in this kind of activity with people that I didn’t trust completely and I cringe a little to think of the creative soul who decides to try this as an original first date idea. Still, if you’re in the area, stop by O.Noir and see for yourself; dining in the dark can be a real eye opener… or not?
It was the possibility of darkness that made the day seem so bright~Stephen King