Friday, February 28, 2014

Right is right. Or is it left?

We were at a craft fair a while ago and saw a Left Handers Mug.

Isn't that just a mug where you turn the handle the other direction?  Yes, normally. But this was a mug made to curve your hand in, providing almost a glove type handle to keep your hands warm around your drink. So the creator had crafted two types - a leftie and rightie. (Nothing for those who like to keep both hands wrapped and warm, though.)

A nice little gift specifically for a left-handed person in a world that is definitely not.

Take something simple, for instance. A water fountain. Where is the handle or button to turn on the water? The right side. Imagine for a minute, right handers, if the push button was on the left side? Would we have the dexterity and strength in our left hands to hold that button down the same as we do on the right? I think this is why some water fountains now have a push bar in the front, too. (That, and so we can push it with our bellies when we are pregnant. Am I right, ladies?!)

We all know about left-handed scissors. If you were that right handed kid who accidentally got the left handed scissors in school, your hands became foreign objects and you had no idea what this contraption was and how to use it. Imagine left handers before those scissors came around. They had to learn how to do everything backward, flipped around, upside down.

Driving a stick shift? Use your right hand to change gears. Opening a door? Doorknobs are always on the right, closest to your right hand.

I know, I know - most lefties probably don't use their left hands to open doors anyways, so is that really a leftie or rightie thing?

Well.... is the reason they use their right hand to open the door because they were forced to, as no doors have knobs on the left, or because they truly are more comfortable opening with their right hands? Would it feel more comfortable to lefties to open a door with a knob on the left?

The old debate - nature vs. nurture.

Today, during craft time, my boy was coloring buttons on his snowman, and I noticed that he first drew a circle, starting at the bottom and circling around clockwise, and then he colored in the buttons. He did it three more times (one more button, and two eyes) the same way. Something about it struck me as different, so I tried it.

Without thinking, I draw my circles counter-clockwise. It takes effort to draw them clockwise, and the moment I stopped concentrating on the direction, I went back to my natural counter clockwise.

This isn't the only instance I have noticed the differences in his writing. Little "a"s start at the bottom right, curve around and up, then down when draws the line on the right. The number "7" starts at the bottom and then goes up and to the left. In fact, almost every letter and number - although they look exactly like what they are supposed to look like - are drawn differently that I make them. I have noticed it before and just thought - maybe this is toddler thing?

A few years ago, when Bjorn first picked up utensils and crayons and anything else he could put in his mouth, he used his left hand just as much as his right. The Hubs and I started thinking he might be left-handed, which is not surprising, considering that his Grandma and Uncle J are both lefties.

When he began throwing a baseball and playing hockey, he played on both sides, eventually switching to almost exclusive rightie. Except he still bats left. I can't wait until he starts baseball next month to see if he continues as batting left, or if he also starts to throw left again as well.

I wanted to do some research on writing left and right and the differences, and I wondered - could that "0" directionality be a left handed thing? So I did what any amateur psychologist in this social age would do, and I asked Facebook. (Not Facebook itself, because I'm pretty sure FB doesn't have hands, but just a whole bunch of wires and spy cameras and maybe a few rolls of duct tape, what I mean is I asked all of my Facebook friends.)

"Do you draw your "o"s clockwise or counterclockwise? Are you right or left handed?"

Out of 16 responses, not a single right handed person drew their "o"s clockwise. The lefties were split, with two writing CCW and two writing clockwise.

Are those two lefty's who wrote counter clockwise ones who had adjusted better to this right-dominant world? Not a single right hander (in my admittedly small research group) drew clockwise, but the lefties were split. Had they been forced to write and cut and sew and cook with their right hands and somehow that had created the difference? Or is it really all just a coincidence?

And all this came about because my son wanted to make a snowman.

Amazing sometimes what an afternoon can bring.


Daniela Escobar said...

lol this is an awesome post!

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