Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Your Left, Your Right, Your Left, Your Right.....

Over the weekend, I finished crocheting a pink and purple afghan for my three-year-old niece (actually she's a great-niece, but that just makes me feel old!) so it's on to crocheting for the babies who will be joining our family over the next few months. As soon as my daughter brings back the digital camera she borrowed from me, I'll upload pictures for those of you who are interested. Who would have ever thought, back when I was 13 or so and learning how to crochet was a required part of our church's youth program--at least for the girls, that I would pick up a hobby that would last me a lifetime. I certainly didn't. Learning how to crochet was difficult for me. As a left-handed person, I'm hopelessly confused by most directions for crafts like knitting and crocheting. I'm slightly more ambidexterous than most of the right-handed people I know, but that's only out of necessity. Usually I fumble around with things created for right-handed people, trying to make them work backwards. Kitchen ladles are a prime example. Whoever created the kitchen ladle apparently never thought that a person would have reason to pour out of the other side of the ladle. One spout on the wrong side was enough. And maybe those of you whose right hands are actually functioning appendages don't ever need to pour out of the other side, but whenever I try to pour something using my right hand, it's a disaster. Not only is my hand non-functional, but so is my arm, and something seems to happen to my depth perception and peripheral vision whenever I try to use my right hand. For years I've struggled along with a right-handed ladle, right-handed scissors, right-handed can openers, a plethora of right-handed desks at the workspace, ergonomic mice for the computer, whiteboards and chalkboards (my left-handed mother taught me to write without twisting my hand around backwards, so I smudge everything I write on a whiteboard -- ditto the chalkboard) spiral notebooks and binders -- the world is created for the right-handed person. So whenever I find something that's actually useful for someone whose primary hand is the left one, I snap it up. My most recent treasure was the two-sided ladle I found at the Dollar Tree a few weeks ago. God bless the person who invented the two-sided ladle. As I was saying before I so rudely interrupted myself, directions for crafty things are sometimes a problem. While crocheting the afghan I just finished, I came across the directions for a square using a slant stitch. The directions kept telling me to insert the hook in the stitch to the right of the stitch just made, and I did exactly what it told me to do. It took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out that I needed to go left whenever it told me to go right. None of these things are insurmountable problems. A little vexing, that's all. Certainly not irritating enough to wish I weren't left-handed or to teach my right hand how to function. I'm just glad that the world has changed enough to make being left-handed acceptable. It hasn't been that long since people forced their children to use their right hands, and every year my mother had to teach my teachers how to teach me to write in the classroom. When my oldest daughter was little, I caught my grandfather-in-law holding out a treat for her and slapping her left hand each time she reached for the treat with it. Yeah, I came unglued, and no, it never happened again. I guess I was lucky. My left-handed mother always told me that being left-handed was a sign of genius. I haven't actually noticed that the left-handed people I know are more brilliant than the right-handed ones, but it was a nice thought to carry around me as I was growing up. Come to think of it, maybe that's why I don't mind the slight inconvenience that comes from stuffing my thumb into the finger hole in a pair of right-handed scissors . . . or prying it back out again when I'm finished :) Scissors

No comments: