Monday, August 13, 2007

Are you left-handed or right-handed or in between?

Reading His Book in the Car
Originally uploaded by katzeye.
Seeing as it's left-handers' day today, I thought I would pose that question.

I was told that I was ambidextrous when I was a kid. This doesn't surprise me for a number of reasons.

One is that my eldest son was that way, too, until mid-childhood.

Another is that when I've had physicals, they note and tell me that I have equal strength on both sides of my body, which is very unusual, and then they usually ask if I am ambidextrous.

I thought I had been left-handed. I surfed and skateboarded goofy foot.

I remember being in around 3rd grade when I decided that I no longer wanted to write left-handed. The reason was that the desks slanted the wrong way for lefties. Also, I was tired of smearing ink and getting dents in my hand from the metal spirals in the middle of the notebook. I went home and practiced my right-handed penmanship for many nights until it got to be comfortable.

I just forgot to change everything else.

I bowled, ironed, ate, used a mouse, knitted, caught, and carried left-handed. I even drew left-handed.

When I had a college ceramics class, and being about 98 lbs. at the time, and always slipping off the kick wheel, the professor took pity on me and put me on an electric wheel. But then all my pots kept falling.

He decided to watch me to see what I was doing wrong. What I was doing wrong was that I was throwing my pots left-handed! I had no idea that there was a right- or left-handed way to throw pots. I think my left hand was inside the pot, shaping it, and the right hand was outside the pot. He said it would never work because I was on a right-handed wheel.

A right-handed wheel? So potters' wheels spin in a particular direction depending on whether you are throwing your pots left-handed or right?

What a through-the-looking glass world I had fallen into!

I had to be moved from throwing pots to simply building them, even with all that practice (until my fingers were bloody!).

Since then, I have had only a few issues, like when trying to iron something, and keeping the cord out of the way, or eating next to a right-handed person.

It can be confusing, because I have become right handed at teeth brushing for instance, but when someone throws a ball to me, I can't be sure which hand will catch it. It's a toss up.

Once, in HS, I was wearing a mitt on my right hand, and caught a high fly ball with my bare left hand. That stung for a very long time. After that, I tried to get the mitt marked with an "L."

Some say that lefties are more creative. On creativity tests I score off the charts. But I can't help but wonder if I might be more productively creative if I could choose one side or the other.

I have discovered one thing, though. I have a terrible time sitting through a meeting or a class. I get restless, my mind wanders every two seconds, and I just want to get up and move. I learned a long time ago that if I knit (left-handed), I can endure holding still longer, and I can hear what is being said better.

Now I've discovered that if I doodle and write left-handed while sitting in a meeting or a class, I can concentrate on what is being said better. I am not sure why this is, but it works for me.

At least, maybe it will work until I become reconverted to proficiently writing left-handed.

After that, I may need to try doodling and writing right handed.