Thursday, March 01, 2007

Every which way is Left

I've always had a somewhat tenuous relationship with the directions "left" and "right". And, that's funny since I remember being 7, 8 ,9 and figuring out in dance class that all I had to do was locate the HUMONGOUS small pox vaccine scar on my left arm to KNOW which direction was left. But, in real life, I just wear too many clothes. Still, you'd think after 45 years of living it would start to be second nature.

Two problems. First, I went to vet school. My left or the dog's left? Every xray involves pointing straight ahead with the right hand index finger and saying "you can see here on the left". It doesn't help that the owners have no real loyalty to left or right when describing a limp. I should be pleased that they usually have decided the problem is with the front or rear. Still, I was coping. I could still give and follow directions. (And, by now I'd figured out I write with my right hand and a little cursive air-doodle would quickly reset my compass.)

No more. Problem two. Driving in Australia. I was OK as a passenger, but now that I've graduated to REAL driver (beyond the hypermarket grocery run) I'm totally buggered. A turn that involves crossing oncoming traffic is (everyone, together) a LEFT TURN. I can (and have) raised my air-doodle pen in hand and asked myself "which way" and STILL I come up with "left". Not even a hint of disquiet there. A turn the other way or following the round-about clockwise is "to the LEFT". So, left is still left. Its just that now right is left, too.


C Maryon said...

Eh? A turn crossing oncoming traffic is a right turn - unless I'm missing something? (the traffic, hopefully)

I look at my thumbs. I sucked my thumb till I was 12, and consequently had a callous on my right thumb where my teeth would hit. So I would look at my thumbs and that would tell me which was my right thumb. Ingenious. Even more clevererererer is that I still look at my thumbs now when faced with a tricky right-left decision situation, and despite there being no callous, the method still works.

NNV said...

Its all those years driving in the US where a left turn involved not getting hit head-on. Now, that is what defines a left turn for me. It is not the direction left but the process of turning while dodging!

Very cool that your thumb can still assure you of which way is right.


Stewart Halfacre said...

Hi Ann - (this has nothing to do with the right or left - when in doubt, go to the center :) - I found you on the net - and surprise to find you are in Australia (the country side is beautiful) - glad you are doing well and happily married! My family is doing well, Stephanie and I have been married for almost 13 years - her oldest daughter will be 23 this year - and our twins Veronica and Victoria are 11 years old - several years back they had your Aunt as a music teacher in pre-school (SMALL WORLD!!!)

Email me if you get a chance at:

Best regards to you and your husband!!!

Stewart Halfacre

jwalduck said...

As I always say "R for wristwatch, R for right!" Of course this only works if you are left-handed and dyslexic.