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.