The Holiday Party

I almost hit the jackpot at the staff holiday party.  I guess 166 jelly beans and the actual count is 174.  Nancy the nurse guesses 175 and wins the gift card.  But I win second place, a feat considering I’m the only staffer whose guess is based on feeling the bean bag rather than eyeballing it.

Where there is a holiday party there is pizza and where there is pizza there is the deep dish versus thin crust debate.  I choose one slice of each for scientific comparison.  And where there is a holiday party there are games: Bean Bag Toss, Musical Chairs and Pin the Nose on the Snowman, wherein a blindfolded staffer is guided by shouts of “Left!  Right!  Up!  Down!” amid general hilarity.  A colleague sidles up to me and whispers that perhaps this game is insensitive to blind people, that exploiting vulnerability is bad form.  I munch my pizza and ponder the issue.

No, I am not offended   By the Pin the Nose on the Snowman game.  I do not feel that the fun is at my expense. If anything, it might be a valuable experience for sighted staff to try to navigate wearing a blindfold.  Perhaps playing “temporarily blind” might increase awareness that hey, this not seeing anything isn’t only scary –it sucks.  But this holiday party needn’t become a learning experience. It’s just a party.

Then there are games, like Musical Chairs, in which a truly blind person can’t participate.  I feel no resentment toward the organizers; rather, I feel that “outside looking in” twinge of sadness.  I don’t expect to be catered to—this is a sighted world, after all, and the world doesn’t revolve around me.   I know how to meet my own needs and I can enjoy the enjoyment of others.  My choice is either to engage from a sense of adequacy and a willingness to take a risk, to take a pass (neutrally) or to remain outside the circle nursing a grudge and feeling sorry for myself.  Today, I take a pass and get a kick out of the game, albeit vicariously.

While I appreciate my colleague’s sensitivity about what might be insensitive, I don’t need someone to assume they know what makes me tick—or what makes me ticked off.  I have a voice.  At the holiday party, I choose to laugh.  The bottom line?  I probably would have won that Snowman game.  After all, I’ve got the most experience finding things I can’t see.

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One Response to The Holiday Party

  1. bethfinke says:

    You are so good with words. I often feel that “outside looking in” twinge of sadness but have never thought to express it that way. Thanks for having the courage to describe it here.


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