Lessons from “dining in the dark”

We recently visited O.NOIR in Toronto and shared a life-altering dining experience.
 
“O.NOIR does more than just stimulate the senses. After an hour or two in complete darkness…customers gain a better understanding of what it’s like to be blind – just like the restaurant’s team of wait staff consisting entirely of the visually-impaired.”
 
We entered the restaurant, reviewed the menu and ordered appetizers, main courses and desserts. Then, we were introduced to Katrina (our guide and server) who led us into a totally-dark – “your eyes will NOT adjust to it” – dining room.
 
Our senses were heightened as we entered this totally unfamiliar environment.
 
Katrina led us through a black-out curtain and swinging door to our table. She patiently helped us locate our chair and figure out where everything was. As she explained what would happen next, we began to relax and “set” up our own space.
 
I placed my purse on the chair beside me, moved my plate and cutlery to my far right and relocated my full glass of wine to the middle of the table so it wasn’t accidently knocked over.
 
Dinner was proceeding at a leisurely pace when, suddenly, the darkness was pierced by a brilliant flash of light. We both gasped and wondered aloud what it might be. A quiet voice, from a few tables away, responded, “Sorry… just checking the time!”
 
Our appetizers arrived (Seafood Surprise), followed by the main course (Filet Mignon – cut in bite-sized pieces) and finally, dessert (Cheesecake). We also realized we had stopped eating when we were full — nothing to look at, nothing to pick at!
 
When it was time to leave. Katrina retuned to our table, led us out of the Dining Room and back to reality. As our eyes adjusted to the light, we noticed most of the diners turn on their phones to check messages!
 
We left the restaurant that evening and talked a lot about the lessons we’d learned while dining in the dark. It got us thinking about how this experience related to…downsizing.
 
Here’s what we learned…
  1. Without distractions, you can concentrate on the task at hand. Although we couldn’t see a thing, we did manage to find and eat our dinner!
  2. The smallest change can make the biggest difference. Relocating items on the table made it easier for us to find things in the dark.
  3. You don’t miss what you can’t see! Salt, pepper, flowers, fancy plates….didn’t make any difference!
That evening, the “hurry” in our lives subsided as we relaxed, adjusted to our “new” situation and made it work.
 
Sometimes, it’s a good idea to leave the familiar behind, open our minds and learn some wonderful life lessons. And that’s exactly what happened with our interesting and thought-provoking dining experience at O.NOIR.

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