fringe: blind date
Firstly, an explanation of what Blind Date is/was...
"Participants are blindfolded and led by their 'date' on an intimate sensory journey of discovery through the streets, parks and alleys throughout the beating heart of Adelaide."
It's kind of been an experience that's was at least a week in the making... I received my survey full of questions a week ago, then got back the survey from my "date" earlier this week.
And, to be honest, I was actually about as nervous going into this as I would have been going on a real blind date.
Especially given the instructions that came along with the survey...
"It is vital that you keep your eyes closed at all times, especially when your date arrives - instinct tells many people to open their eyes and turn to face the person saying hi, but we really do need you to stay focused on keeping your eyes closed and facing away."
So the appointed time found me sitting on a bench outside the Art Gallery with my eyes shut... and then Bren, my "date", appeared (and I never opened my eyes, not once during the whole experience) and took me through the process of the date, gave me my blindfold, took my hand and we set off.
This will contain spoilers/a description of my experience, so if you're one of the nine people who will be lucky enough to have this experience during this season you may want to skip the rest until after your date.
I'll be honest, because we wandered around the North Terrace precinct, I pretty much knew where I was about 75% of the time... although there were a couple of instances where I was unsure, and some points that I only worked out afterwards.
I was a little hesitant at first, more so because the sensation of walking without being able to see is very weird, but Bren held my hand the whole time and was very good about giving directions, so I never really had any hesitations, other than being careful whenever we went up or down stairs.
I also need to wander down that way in the next couple of days to see if I can find exactly where we were was when we stopped to draw on a wall in chalk... I think I worked out where it was afterwards.
We wandered around for a while, and I'm not completely sure of everywhere we went, but we stopped somewhere for a drink and a chat (I worked out eventually that it was Tuxedo Cat... or at least I'm pretty sure that's where it was)... I told him a bunch of stories about good and bad Fringe shows I've seen at various points, including The Boy James (which I still can't describe to people without tearing up... which was interesting under the blindfold).
Then we wandered back across North Terrace and Bren picked out a spot to sit in the University grounds where he gave me some music to listen to and gave me some tactile sensations with, I think, some seeds and some water and the earth next to where we were sitting.
To be honest it was nice to just relinquish control to someone else... just let myself be completely in Bren's hands (well, hand really) and let whatever was going to happen happen.
And he was excellent... I never felt unsafe, and even though I could hear that there were people around us a lot of the time, I never felt embarrassed... I did wonder what the hell they thought was going on or if they were even paying attention.
So at the end of our time together when Bren asked if I wanted to dance with him, even though I could hear some people milling around in the background, I said why not.
And so we slow-danced, while Bren sang "Dream a Little Dream of Me" to me. I'm pretty sure I've never slow-danced with a guy who was serenading me before (actually I'm not sure I've slow-danced with a guy before) and it was really nice.
Then he turned me in a very specific direction, told me to count to 30 and then take off the blindfold.
When I did I found that he'd pegged an incredibly sweet note to the back of my blindfold, which I'm not going to share, but I am planning on finding a shadowbox frame so that I can frame both the note and the peg (and maybe part of the blindfold).
But when I opened my eyes I was confronted with a window full of plastic apples... I don't know if it's just something that was already there and it seemed like a fitting end, or if it was something created for the Blind Date experience, but the combination of seeing that, and the note, on top of the whole experience just made me go "naaaaawwwwwwww" and feel all warm and gooey.
So thank you, Mysterious Bren, who I never saw, but who held my hand, listened to my stories, slow-danced with me and wrote me the most beautiful note... you were a brilliant Blind Date!