Proxy touch is a skill in which a person can perceive the properties of something by using another object other than your hand. A professional fly-fisher named Rick Passek uses proxy touch to know when to catch fish through his rod. When the fish bites the hook, Passek is able to detect the specific type of fish he’s hooked and what the fish is about to do. His ability to do this, is from the characteristic pulls and vibrations at the rods handle caused by the fish’s actions. Although many people aren’t professional fly-fishers, we are able to use proxy touch in our daily life. We can use this skill through vibrations and textures of specific surfaces. For example, if you were to draw with a pencil but the surface was to change from gloss, standard, to cotton-weight paper, you would be able to detect the different textures. By detecting the textures of the paper by holding the pencil, you are able to apply the right amount of pressure to effectively use the pencil on each surface. Another example when you use proxy touch is when you are cooking. If you were to cook soup, when stirring with a spoon you would be able to determine if the soup was thick enough or if it were sticking to the pot. By using the cooking spoon, you can perceive the texture of the soup without touching it with your skin, allowing you to know when your food is ready. Proxy touch is used to perceive things which is why it is known that blind individuals use their cane tips to feel upcoming curbs or doorways. Overall, proxy touch is used by individuals for many different reasons which can be helpful in our daily lives.
Rosenblum, L. D. (2011). See what I'm saying: the extraordinary powers of our five senses. W.W. Norton.