Monday, February 28, 2011

Blindfolded

This picture is from last year (that chair broke and we had to get me a new chair), but its such a typical image of my three middle girls that I thought I would use it for tonight's theme of family fun (left to right, Lucia, Agnese, Teresa).

We played a game after dinner. I'm not sure it has a name. One person gets blindfolded in the living room and then turned around in order to become disoriented. Then another person goes to some other part of that general area of the house and calls out the blindfolded person's name. The blindfolded person has to find the caller. Everyone else watches and laughs at all the silly things that the blindfolded person does. It may sound fairly easy to find someone by following the sound of their voice, but its harder than you think.

Everyone participated and took their turns calling and being blindfolded. We especially had fun with Josefina, of course. But everyone had fun. The blindfold reduced everyone to an equal level, in a way: Mommy and Daddy lose a lot of their advantage when they can't see and the object they seek is small and clever at scrunching itself up in a corner or behind a chair. Don't play this game in a place where you have fancy furniture, things that can be knocked over, or clutter that can cause tripping (perhaps outside would be the best place). We were in pretty open space, but I still found myself groping through the dining room before I finally came upon Lucia in the kitchen. I was surprised to find myself in the kitchen; I didn't think I was going there.

Its an odd phenomenon: to be deprived of a sense. It takes away a great deal of one's capacity. One has to rely on the other senses, which become more attentive. One also has to employ memory and common sense. Practical reasoning comes into play: Which way exactly is the sound coming from? What is this thing I am touching? Where is it in relation to the voice?

We are often presented with analogous kinds of deprivation in daily life (that's part of what makes the game so funny, deep down). "Problems" arise during the course of the day when we are lacking some of the capacities, information, or tools necessary to accomplish our goals. How often this seems to happen. And so we have to improvise. We have to make the best use of what we do have, make prudent guesses about what we need to know, and follow our best instincts. Sometimes we fail and have to start all over again. Sometimes we bungle everything and feel foolish.

Perhaps our entire lives can feel like this: stumbling around in the dark, seeking some voice, making wrong turns and having to start over. But we must not think that this means we are fools.

We are human. We move every day toward a destiny that is mysterious and enormous beyond any of our capacities. When we try and have difficulty, when we fail and have to start over, when we make a bit of a mess of things, lets not put ourselves down and regard ourselves as fools. In real life, it is true, we have help. Destiny has come down and created a path that we can walk even in our weakness. Our human poverty in the face of so many circumstances has been taken into account, and the "problem" that we face and wrestle with and might not be able to solve need not be considered "failure" if we have tried our best with what we have. In any case, we ought not to condemn ourselves. We need to learn to laugh a little at what is, after all, more than a little humorous. Humor is part of the human condition, and every one of us--without exception--is funny. At the depth of this humor one discovers the diamond of joy.

5 comments:

Internet Peasant said...

A good read, John.

Also, I think it's a version of a party game called Blind Man's Bluff.

The Diatribist said...

I feel as though you are giving me a gentle reminder to be kinder to myself. I referred to myself as a jerk in my last post for failing to meet my obligations, but you seem to encourage your readers (me) to forgive our imperfections. Thank you for this.

John Janaro said...

Is that "Blind Man's Bluff"? I wasn't sure because I wasn't sure where the "bluff" was.

Daria Sockey said...

Nice post. Blind man's bluff as an analogy for Life.

Very cute kids!

A Mouse in My Bed said...

When I started nannying for a new family, I played this game with the kids to teach them to trust me and show I trusted them...we played on a soccer field that was ridden with puddles, benches, goals, etc...we had to trust that the other wouldn't get us all wet or trip us over a bleacher. It got the kids to open up to me and made for some great laughs.