The part time job I’ve been working has me helping adults with disabilities. I get to help them with a variety of different programs available to them through a local park district. I’ve always known this, but the point has been driven home that people with disabilities are more normal than most of the normal people I have to deal with on a regular basis.
Todays’ adventure was to a chocolate shop where all the chocolate is made on site. They have a program where groups can come by and participate in the chocolate making process.
This is the second time I’ve worked with a blind woman with MS that is confined to a wheel chair. She can still do quite a bit for herself, but walking isn’t one of them. We seem to have hit it off pretty well together. She has a wicked sense of humor and is extremely blunt. My kind of person.
Throughout the chocolate making process I had to act as her eyes and guide her hands. This included giving her detailed descriptions of everything we were using. Fiery red sprinkles, multi colored sprinkles, M&Ms and a number of different chocolate pieces. Trays of liquid chocolate, both brown and white, had to be played with and fingers licked. Everything going on the chocolate mess had to be tasted.
As sprinkles went on I would have to describe the pattern. When putting down the M&Ms she missed her target and it clanked on the plate. With the next one I told her not to miss, so she purposely missed again and laughed. When we were done, she asked what it looked like. I told her it looked like the chocolate easter bunny had just puked on her plate. The supervisor was concerned when she started choking from laughter.
We were the first to get done and cleaned up, so I took her out to the beautifully laid out chocolate paradise they have as a store. I took her up and down the aisles describing what we were passing. I took her to the display cabinet and let her run her hands down the expansive smooth curved glass. I described in detail some of the chocolates laid out neatly in the display.
In return, she described the smells of the place. The brewing coffee, the hot chocolate machine we just passed, the different kinds of chocolate smells and the hints of orange and lime and whatever else she could distinguish that was floating around the room. On the way out the door she thanked me and I said, no, thank you.
On the way home I started wondering if there could come a time when I can take her for a walk along the river. I’d take her to one of my favorite stretches and start describing it in detail. In return I would teach her the smell of the river. The smell of water over riffles where a fine mist launches into the air. The sweet musty smell of spawning fish.
I could use the refresher myself. I need the reminder of why I fish and to relearn how to describe what I see rather than just seeing it. Maybe a blind woman could help me with that.