He'll be blind for 4 days! Help me entertain my friend
February 2, 2009 7:53 PM   Subscribe

My friend is having eye surgery which will leave him blind for ~4 days. What activities can I do with him that will keep him from being bored out of his mind?
posted by pinksoftsoap to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (38 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I had this and audiobooks were the answer. Maye read to him?
posted by sweetkid at 7:55 PM on February 2, 2009

I suspect he's going to be doped to the gills for most of those four days in order to keep him out of pain and keep him from moving his eyes. I don't think he's going to be in much of a mood for "activities".
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:57 PM on February 2, 2009

Radiolab! Radiolab!
posted by you're a kitty! at 8:03 PM on February 2, 2009 [4 favorites]

Get him movies with great scripts and little pageantry, like My Dinner With Andre. Make him an excellent mix CD, and download tons of podcasts in his vein of entertainment. A period of 4 day blindness is a great time to develop a taste for This American Life and Grammar Girl. Make him dinner with exciting flavors, like Thai or Indian food. If he's able and the weather is accommodating, take him outside and ask him if notices anything different when he can't see things. It sucks your friend has to undergo surgery, but this could be a very interesting little time period.
posted by Hwaet at 8:06 PM on February 2, 2009

I would say some new albums, and maybe some audio books.
Yeah, he'll probably be doped to the gills, so make it simple audio books, maybe even something he's read.
posted by piedmont at 8:06 PM on February 2, 2009

You can listen together to films you both love and have seen many times, and argue about what's in the screen. I mean "listen", both of you, even if your sight is working right.

Also, I would suggest food, lots of food. Eating tacos with no sight must be interesting, to say the least. Make the messiness into a game.

Go out for a full massage/manicure/the_works.

I am assuming sex is out of the question. Else, eating tacos naked in the bathtub while listening to a movie, right before a shower and a vigorous bit of nookie would be nice. Hmmm... Maybe Mrs Kandinski and I should invest in a pair of blindfolds and get into the action this weekend.
posted by kandinski at 8:10 PM on February 2, 2009

when I imagine being blind for ~4 days, I don't imagine being bored. I'd worry more about FREAKING THE FUCK OUT BECAUSE HOLY SHIT I'M BLIND AND WHAT IF IT STAYS LIKE THIS OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! which is to say - since you want to be a friend, I'd focus on making sure that he will have constant company. (sleepover company, as well). I'd want to have someone to talk to at all times to make jokes and help me feel safe and keep things in perspective.
posted by moxiedoll at 8:13 PM on February 2, 2009 [2 favorites]

I am assuming sex is out of the question.

As you should, since the OP gives no indication that this is a sexual relationship.
posted by Hwaet at 8:19 PM on February 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

moxiedoll: keeping your mind off the OMF is a good side-effect of being constantly entertained.

Despite my flippant reference to sex above (the only operation that leaves you blind for four days that I can think of is for retinal detachment, and any type of exercise is a total no-no), I totally second the sleepover part.
posted by kandinski at 8:20 PM on February 2, 2009

Yes, definitely stupid audiobooks. I was blind for two days after surgery and listened to "Confessions of A Shopaholic" all the way through. That silly girl and her credit cards were my lifesavers.
posted by sweetkid at 8:23 PM on February 2, 2009

I am seconding the hell out of Radiolab. Chewy, intelligent, hilarious, chill-inducing sound documentaries. And you will ALWAYS have something to talk about afterwards.

(Just avoid some of the episodes that involve neurological damage and blindness and stuff. Unless said friend is relatively squick-proof.)
posted by mykescipark at 8:38 PM on February 2, 2009

Podcasts. Lots of podcasts.
posted by gen at 11:34 PM on February 2, 2009

The BBC did a radio dramatisation of the lord of the rings - pretty much the whole thing which is available on cassette, DVD and bittorrent. Highly recommended, and probably is about four days playing time total.
posted by singingfish at 11:37 PM on February 2, 2009

Now's your chance to finish that 96-hour mix-tape you were working on.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:40 PM on February 2, 2009

I am assuming sex is out of the question.

As you should, since the OP gives no indication that this is a sexual relationship.

Wow, Hwaet, how pre-supposing of you. Way to impose your feelings about sex upon the OP.

OP asked for activities that keep people from getting bored. Sex is one of those activities. OP can probably judge for themselves if it's appropriate.

Meanwhile, I second the sex motion. Provide it, arrange for it, describe it, whatever.
posted by Dunwitty at 11:58 PM on February 2, 2009

Just make sure he's getting the greatest food you ever made for him. Extra points for new dishes. Make pictures of every dish, make him guess what it is and write his answer on the back of the prints.
posted by ouke at 12:04 AM on February 3, 2009

Get him a bunch of fabric samples, so he can play with different tactile sensations.
posted by orthogonality at 12:14 AM on February 3, 2009

Considering that people pay to dine blind in New York, you might as well take him out and experience things differently.
posted by hobbes at 1:23 AM on February 3, 2009

I dunno, sex was about the last thing on my mind after my eye surgeries, even if Vin Diesel and Jason Statham had both shown up at my bedside naked. All appropriateness to this situation aside, most folks have never had a headache like that...

I wanted Darvocet, public radio, sleep, and Jell-O, in that order, for six days. Anyone who arranged any of that for me was my hero, nothing flashier required. The ability to stay quiet and assist me with basic hygiene was a plus.

Perhaps not what you're looking for in an answer, but taking him out and/ or having your way with him may not even be medically advisable depending on the procedures he'll have.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 2:04 AM on February 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Another vote for Radiolab. And if it were me, I'd be putting on some classic albums I'd never got to. Since he's on drugs, may I suggest Loveless?
posted by abcde at 3:44 AM on February 3, 2009

Marco Polo marathon, "Watch" the Miracle Worker, Play Blind man's bluff... The possibilities are endless
posted by Gungho at 4:35 AM on February 3, 2009

Actually, Spiritualized's Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space trikes me as the perfect album for this particular circumstance. I'm not even really a fan, but ya gotta be objective. (Though really, you might want to downplay the overall vibe of being laid up blind and probably on opiates, not accentuate it.)
posted by abcde at 4:39 AM on February 3, 2009

Lots of "old time radio" shows are readily available for downloading on the net. Hours and hours of dramas and comedy.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 5:46 AM on February 3, 2009

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy started out as a radio drama - that would be an entertaining way to pass the time.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:20 AM on February 3, 2009

I dunno, sex was about the last thing on my mind after my eye surgeries, even if Vin Diesel and Jason Statham had both shown up at my bedside naked. All appropriateness to this situation aside, most folks have never had a headache like that...

However, the person who is to be blind is a guy. This changes things.

I agree that if you can help the person find someone nice to provide some level of physical affection, it would be great, even if it only was cuddling. Obviously, OP if you aren't looking to provide that for him, you might want to find him someone who does, or drive his GF to the place or whatever if needed.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:40 AM on February 3, 2009

Okay I'll be the first to suggest something non-visual (outside of the sex thing). Why not take advantage of the temporary blindness and play at what it means to explore with your other senses? Set up things to touch, to smell, to taste etc and explore with him. Even if the relationship isnt physical, this could be just a really fun time to investigate a sightless world, made even more poignant because it is temporary. Collect things to touch. Make aromatic meals and try to identify the spices. Play music and appreciate the drums alone. Arrange trays of fruit and identify by smell. Then eat of course. Could be way fun.
posted by elendil71 at 9:54 AM on February 3, 2009

Name That Tune
posted by JuiceBoxHero at 10:01 AM on February 3, 2009

I had eye surgery as a teenager, possibly the most... hair-trigger time for males. I had no interest in sex at all for quite a while. Things just hurt too much; all I wanted to do was take painkillers and sleep.

Radio, music and audiobooks were what kept me sane. TV, not so much. Having someone read is great, but doing it for long periods, like an hour, say, is hard on their voice.
posted by bonehead at 10:27 AM on February 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Try getting hearing protection (from a shooting place or hardware store, or even CVS will have the foam earplugs) so they can isolate what's the ringing in their ears vs. outside. Put them on and what's left is in the brain/ears. Then have a white noise machine to help, since that stuff is pretty annoying. Get a good pair of closed ear phones (they make open ones that look closed) so they can listen to the great suggestions above without distraction. Without their eyes the ears are going to be on overload, and in pain too presumably.

Aside from those two, think of smells and tastes too. Just buy one of every fruit and slice them open to smell, or get more complicated and do leather, shoe polish, a racketball, a baseball (love the smell of dirty baseballs), etc. Bring stuff from outside like grass or snow, tree bark, etc. Spices are a whole subworld of the food side of things, etc.

Do all that for a day or two and then practice navigating the house/apartment using their new super skills. Sit outside during the day and at night listening to everything. Get out to nature too, if you aren't already. Bring birdseed. Birds are fun to listen to. So are dogs, if you have one. Just gotta keep them from licking the wounds. They'll do that.

This isn't the time to push interpersonal boundaries. They're going to be vulnerable. I wouldn't spring sex on them if you're not already flirting. If it drives a wedge between you two it'll just be a nightmare for them. Not worth it.

You might consider getting one of those sleeping masks and doubling up on everything, so it'd be like a puzzle you two are working on. That'd even the playing field. Buy a bunch of citrus stuff (orange, carambola, lime, lemon, grapefruit) and non-citrus (berries, bananas, apples) and try to line them up in order alphabetically or "closest to orange". Then you can remove the mask and verbally check the work.

Old radio shows, even early TV shows or movies, would be fun too. They did more with sound back then. Try to figure out how. Two pieces of sandpaper rubbing on each other, a stick on a washboard, stick on a cowbell, etc.
posted by jwells at 11:24 AM on February 3, 2009

I ignored my father and watched him arc weld back in 2nd grade or so... fried my retinas and went around with patches over both eyes for 10 days or so. (lucky). Play hide and seek.
Get him a cane (even a stick from a tree). Put away breakable objects. Play out of water Marco Polo. It might help to keep to places he knows well (like stumble around the house to the bathroom in the middle of the night with no light). Try the blind thing of walking up to a wall and not hitting it, or going to a big empty field where you can run and roll around and chase without running into a tree or something (catch me if you can).
posted by zengargoyle at 11:53 AM on February 3, 2009

Assumptions that because the person is a dude, he will want sex while recovering from surgery that leaves him blind is stupid. Assumptions that the poster is in the type of relationship where she would be fucking this person (who she has only identified as a friend) is equally stupid.

OP, if he's gonna be in a lot of pain, just focus on having food he likes and pain medicine near by. Bring some great music and help him enjoy the other senses.
posted by piratebowling at 12:04 PM on February 3, 2009 [2 favorites]

I like to do a wall or two at the climbing gym while blindfolded every so often. It's a good climbing exercise; it makes you focus more on your center of gravity than the wall above you. It's also very fun. Just pick an easy wall. He may not be into it if he's never climbed before, though.
posted by echo target at 12:10 PM on February 3, 2009

Response by poster: wow

First off - thanks for all your responses.

Secondly, WTF to all those posts discussing sex as an option! my other friend tells me - "for u to post on MF, it's like "friend i like"" Is this what askMe has turned into? Sorry all, he is absolutely a platonic friend and now this is kind of an amusing/awkward thread to show others hoping to help him out.
posted by pinksoftsoap at 12:59 PM on February 3, 2009

Eddie Izzard's performances work well as radio shows, and are easily available on DVD. Ditto Jim Gaffigan.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:04 PM on February 3, 2009

Learn Braille! No, seriously! How cool, and when else would you take the time if you don't really need to?
posted by springbound at 5:13 PM on February 3, 2009

(Although if there's any risk at all of your friend *remaining* blind, probably don't do that.) ;)
posted by springbound at 5:14 PM on February 3, 2009

Also... if you guys have any long-neglected desire to play some drums... bongos and a play-along CD could be fun. Depending on your friend's energy levels.
posted by springbound at 5:17 PM on February 3, 2009

Or, following from the Braille thing: learn a bit of *any* new language from a tape. Has your friend been wanting to travel somewhere where their native one isn't spoken/preferred?
posted by springbound at 5:30 PM on February 3, 2009

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