Imagine how it would be if you couldn’t see the food in front of you and you were hungry? Imagine if you couldn’t walk anywhere without holding onto a guide? Imagine not being able to see the people sitting with you? That is the experience that blind people face every single moment of their lives. A few nights ago, for an hour, I got to experience how it feels to be blind.
It was, in a word, “terrifying.”
Cleanlogic Dining in the Dark at Studio Arte in Manhattan, was an event held a few nights ago, hosted by the bath and beauty company, CleanLogic. This company offers affordable spa-style bath/body products with a unique difference. They are not just good products, but the first company to include braille on their packaging. With more than 25 million blind and visually impaired people in the United States alone, this is a caring gesture that The Advice Sisters, really appreciated.
Isaac Shapiro and his partner Michael Ghesser, launched IMS Trading in 2001 . IMS includes six brands of which a portion of each goes to the charity that Shapiro and his mother Bea, set up in 2006. This charity, the Inspiration Foundation (IF), is a non-profit that works to improve the lives of those who are visually impaired. During the event last night, Mr. Shapiro talked long, proudly, and lovingly about his mother, who is blind. He told us that although his mother couldn’t see, she could still lead a lovely, productive life. He made the point that technology has made it possible for people will all sorts of disabilities, including blindness, to work on computer and do many if not all of the things that sighted people can do. To that end, his companies not only make good products, but they help to serve the needs and give back to the community of the blind. The Foundation exists to 1) provide adaptive technology for working age adults with vision loss and 2) create awareness and raise funds for nonprofits that support the blind and visually impaired community. That is just so lovely and inspiring!
But when it comes to the CleanLogic products, many of which were on display at the event, you’ll quickly see (no pun intended) that they are good, and pleasant to use. In fact, the Advice Sisters reviewed some of CleanLogic’s products in September. I have become addicted to the gentle but thorough, dead skin-cell-sloughing, Exfoliating Body Scrubber $3.19 *Shipping: $2.63. CleanLogic’s is 3″ x 5: , featuring a soft side to wash with, and a rough scrubby on the other, to remove all that dead, dry itchy stuff on your skin, without ripping it to shreds in the process!
We take our senses for granted. Until they are taken away. Last night, a group of editors donned blackout masks (and I mean, you couldn’t even see a shadow with these on) and were literally, led to tables to eat dinner without sight. I have no idea how someone adapts to being sight-less. I could barely stand it for an hour. It was exhausting and scary, and frustrating. I happened to see two people I knew, Courtney Henley Anderson from That Girl at the Party, and Stephanie from Beauty News NYC. We opted for the buddy system, and I was positioned between them as we were ordered to don our masks and then put both hands on the shoulder’s of the person in front of us. Then, we were led into the dining room, shown the back of our chairs, and invited to sit.
The minute I put on that mask, I began to panic. If it wasn’t for the familiar voices of my colleagues around me, I think I would have bolted on the spot. But, after we were seated and started to talk, we realized that our sense of hearing was amplified. It was loud in that room! We were all invited to forage around for a plate nearby and pick up a piece of toast (for a formal “toast”) and crunch together. It sounded like glass shattering. As the meal progressed, helpers provided reassuring voices and assistance (and thanks to the man who brought us several glasses of wine). Some people used their hands to find their food, but I foraged with a fork, and managed to find the rim of my plate and then scoop up undefinable pieces of dinner. I could barely taste it. The entire time all I could think about was the fact that soon I would be able to see again (what a relief), but that’s something a person who is blind, will never get to do.
I guess you can adapt to anything, but my experience with Dining in the Dark was an eye opener (again, not really an intended pun). I truly admire anyone who faces a disability and finds ways to surmount difficulties. In the bathroom after the event,waiting on line, I heard a young man say he was a musician. I asked if he had to make a choice, would it be to lose his sight, or hearing? He answered: “my sight.” I can see how that choice would be horrible, but logical (although Beethoven managed to compose magnificently without hearing the music). But even with guide dogs and lots of new technology, the thought of never being able to see what I am doing, what I am near, or what dangers lurk around me, would be worse than never hearing my loved ones voices ever again. It really gave me a deeper respect for those who always have to “dine in dark” and do it, with dignity and courage. And, I’m urging all of you to support he Inspiration Foundation (IF), either directly, or through the purchase of Clean Logic Products.