I got myself organised (admittedly with my eyes open) gathering Sellotape, scissors and wrapping paper (and of course presents!). The hardest part I found was cutting the paper – I tried wrapping the paper around the present to gauge how much I needed and then folding the paper to get a straight line – however, it was surprisingly hard to actually line the edges up just by feel, and, because I was using wrapping paper on a roll it was frustrating as it’s harder to manoeuvre. Having read Dave’s blog, I concentrated on making sure my paper was the correct way round (i.e. picture side out) by memory of how it came off the roll and remembering how I’d lay it down once I’d cut it.
The actual wrapping wasn’t so bad, although at times I was unsure if I had actually got the paper overlapping or not and had to double check several times. I don’t have a Sellotape dispenser, so decided to attach one end of the tape to the edge of the table and then cut the length I wanted with scissors – I cut thin air on several occasions but luckily not my fingers at all. I tried to be as careful as possible to fit the tape over the part I wanted but did have a couple of times where, having thought I’d done this successfully, the flap come back up after I’d finished.
The main thing I was surprised about, even though I was very aware that I need to be organised with placing everything, was that I was still feeling around a lot for Sellotape as I’d absent mindedly put it down beside me rather than on my lap where I was trying to keep it.
And I think that’s the thing that struck me the most – it wasn’t so much the physical element of wrapping the presents (although that was a challenge) it was the mental part that was difficult – thinking it through all the time and the concentration required at all times – I couldn’t relax and wrap presents whilst thinking about other things, I really had to focus on the job in hand. I almost found it harder than the experience of dining in the dark at Dans Le Noir. Thinking about this, I think that was because at Dans Le Noir, I had set aside that time to enjoy my meal and there was nothing else going on whereas with the present wrapping I was aware how much slower I was and how many other presents I also had to wrap that evening.
I did make myself persevere but, of course, at the end I could open my eyes and double check what I’d done (and note that some of my paper was upside down - for those of you who can see the photo you’ll spot what I mean with my upside down Father Christmases – I hadn’t even thought about that whilst wrapping!).
I know undertaking this exercise doesn’t mean I know what it’s like to live with sight loss (and I have to confess it was a relief to open my eyes and go about the rest of my evening as usual) but I do think these exercises give a little more insight into the thought process that has to go in to so many things and a bit more understanding about why people might do things in certain ways.
We’ll see what Dave thinks of my wrapping when he gets the finished results!!
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