Absolutely nothing. No, less than nothing. I have my eyes wide open. Nothing. Eyes shut tight. Same nothing. Not a shadow, not a shape. Natural instincts of panic were set off as I was guided in by the waiter. Through a supreme act of will, I resisted turning around and running. Probably anticipating this from years of experience on the job, his grasp stayed tightly firm. I moved to my seat under his guidance in little pigeon step shuffles, which is where I stayed put for the next 2.5 hours. It was a full house tonight, wherever it is we were. It is a weird experiment, precisely why it's so popular. Very weird and very intriguing.
It took a good 25 mintes till everyone 'sounded' seated and the hysterically accosting cackle began to subside. The 80 people (voices) were calming down. The brain responded to an unprecedented loss of a one sense, vision, by putting all other remaining senses almost immediately in overdrive - especially that of hearing and paradoxically also speech. Which resulted in fine tuned, overly sensitive ears on high alert meted with unnecessarily loud voices competing with each other. A recipe for insanity, had it gone on longer than 2.5 hours. But 2.5 hours in utter, absolute, total darkness....and dinner, could just still expedite the process of insanity. Dinner was an additionally interesting aspect of the evening, once I had worked out where it is dinner would be placed. There is also the matter of locating utensils of cutlery, plate and glass to transport dinner and drinks from (invisible) said location to mouth. Given the circumstances, the animalistic option of eating right off the plate also exists. It's not like anyone could frown at my table manners. To complete the effect, the 4 course menu wasn't disclosed either. We must be very bored to seek out this kick! I realise I haven't heard much from my partner. My need to stay in control, kept me focused on taking stock of my situation. Gathering my bearings in as much as I could. So I went about groping cautiously at my surroundings. The table I'm sitting at is as broad as my legs are long - from foot till knee. "Opps, sorry! Didn't mean to kick, just measuring". Coordinates of serviette and utensils mapped out in my mind, explored by technique of stroking obstacles with hand, never losing contact to avoid knocking over tall objects like bottles of water etc. In the process, hairy male felt-up arms length away on left. Anther, not so hairy, also male, same distance to the right. Sex gauged by startled voices - however accurate an indication of sex that may be. Minor embarrassments in light of knowledge gained. Little experiments also performed of holding hand in front of nose, moving serviette up and down in front of face. Fascinatingly, uniform, complete blackness. Zero visibility confirmed again. Very satisfied indeed with myself, to have conquered the limitations and sized up my environment! I am now ready to share the results of a well analysed picture. I'll be our path finder tonight! So, what happened to him anyway?
'Dining in the Dark' - it was his idea to begin with. "It's like with human relationship's" he had said, "groping your way through darkness. Searching for things you couldn't identify when found. Feeding off them nevertheless". It is an uncannily close analogy. He had no picture now, he said. Reportedly holding his head in his hands. He was finding the whole experience most exhausting. I eagerly shared, with an annoying insistence, the vivid picture I had cleverly deduced. He couldn't see it. "What good are eyes, if there is nothing to see". A circumstantial blindness. All the waiters in here were blind, moving around with enviable dexterity, clicking away their fingers to gauge each other's positions. We were diving into their world, fleetingly, without their skill. It might have been easier to let go and free-fall into the experience. We wouldn't know, because we couldn't let go. During the courses, the stupefying game of keeping food perched on fork, till fork was successfully guided to mouth, was repeated as many times till scrape tests on plate concluded relatively empty plate, or the bother of chasing around obstacles on plate got too exasperating causing us to give back course uneaten. Between courses, I was tiring myself out fighting off messages from my brain to send my body into sleep mode, naturally associating the darkness with bed time, whilst my body was trying to consume and process dinner courses. Eventually when I wasn't playing spoon and marble race with unidentifiable food and with nothing else to do, I sprawled across the knee-to-foot broad table and gave in to my brain. Darkness, nothing more.