What browsing the web feels like

A blind man turns to his friend. ‘You know, I’ve always wondered. As a sighted person, what does browsing the web feel like?’

‘That’s a tough one,’ says his friend. He shrugs. ‘It doesn’t really feel like anything. What does eating an apple feel like, for example?’

The blind man thinks. He brings an empty hand to his face, opens his mouth, and takes an imaginary bite. He chews. He swallows.

‘It feels like falling through ice,’ he begins. ‘It feels like cutting your tongue and swallowing sunlight. Eating an apple feels like running through Eden. Eating an apple feels like tearing chunks out of heaven,’ he says. ‘Your turn.’

The friend pauses. He breathes in, raises his arms, and starts to type in the air. One hand moves to guide an imaginary mouse, an index finger tapping out the beat of the web.

‘Browsing the web feels like being lost in a hotel’, he says. ‘It feels like waiting for someone to greet you, to hit the lights and offer directions. But no-one comes. So you start to wander. You start to open doors. You hope to find meaning; a reason you’re there. Browsing the web feels a lot like life. Browsing the web feels like slowly growing old.’

The blind man smiles. ‘That’s funny,’ he says. ‘It feels exactly the same for me.’