Left or right?

Sorry, if you were looking for something deep or something to spike outrage or debate, but this is not a political post.

Reading my last post, I realised I mixed up left and right. I said look to the left for a link to past posts (and did you?) Now, that wasn’t because I naturally lean to the left. (Which I do, both politically and in body control.)

No, it’s just that I mix up my left and right.

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Me giving directions: Turn right.

Me (as husband follows directions turns right): No, the other right.

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I was always the one going the wrong way, or going one beat behind, at aerobics classes in the 80s, and yoga in the 90s and BodyBalance in the naughties. And it hasn’t changed in my Pilates classes now. Forget bloody Zumba and other dance related exercise classes. Epic fail, as they say.

I have to consciously think: left, right, which one. And how I remember? I can wink with ease with my left eye. I can wink with my right but it takes effort. Hence the pause, and being a step behind in exercise classes.

The poor instructor who was relieving at my Pilates class last term. With all my winking, I think he thought I was making moves on him. But he would be so precise and say which leg we had to use. Much prefer when instructors just say extend a leg. Then it doesn’t require thought, and winking.

So do you just know? And if you do, how do you know? Do you feel it in your bones, so to speak? Or are you like me, and have some private check or prompt?

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21 thoughts on “Left or right?

  1. I make an L with my thumb and first finger on the left hand.

    I’m teaching 3.5 years olds left and right, trying to keep one twin always on the left,.. Not sure if it’s an effective technique, but I do link it to crossing the road, and checking both ways.

  2. I have exactly the same problem, as does Nick, one of my nephews. Many years ago I heard a radio programme on this subject and apparently we folk who muddle left and right don’t have a dominant side of the brain. If I am giving directions I look at my hands because my clue is: 2 rings on my left hand, 1 on my right. Over the years I have driven my husband crazy giving the wrong left and right directions but oddly enough when we used to have holidays in France I found saying left and right in French came much more readily to my lips. My sister always said I sewed like a left handed person and Nick took a few years to decide whether he was left or right handed, so there is definitely a confusion in our brains!

    • I sew like a left-hander and I take it as an observation of fact. I ark up big time when people use left-handedness as an insult! OK, I do sew messily but that is just because I don’t care, have any interest nor do I practice. I write neatly though.

      Love the non-dominant brain theory. I am left-handed and verbal and mathematical and analytical and creative/imaginative.

  3. No indecisiveness from me, here. Maybe because I have very little I can do with my letter hand? Very right handed.
    I do know at least one other person who is clueless about left/right and does not make for a good navigator in the car either. She points frantically at the last minute.
    I really didn’t believe her until I saw it in action.

  4. My twin sister does that! It’s almost guaranteed that whatever direction she picks, it’s the opposite of what she meant to pick.

    Similar to Sarah’s method, I teach kids by having them put their hands palm-down on the table in front of them. The left hand will automatically show a ‘L’ with thumb and index finger.

    This makes no difference for my sister, though! She has an uncanny sense of ‘oppositeness’ with directions!

  5. Haha…I’ll ask my sister if she winks more easily on one side. That’s hilarious. I bet that’s given the instructor some funny stories to tell!

    • It’s got me into trouble before.

      Would love to know your sister’s answer! Do you wink more easily with your right? I think we all have one we do just without thinking. Like the way we cross our arms.

      • Lol…what have you begun…my sister is winking her way around town! She’s a left winker but was at pains to point out, “I can do a fast mean one with the right as well.” I’m a massively dominant left winker and almost get a twitch from trying a right wink – maybe it really is to do with having one side of the brain dominant or not!

  6. Lucinda, we are uncannily alike. I, too have no real dominant side and am useless at left and right. Hilarious is me teaching my children to drive. I say, ‘Turn right ahead!’ and they do, at which point I’ll say, ‘Ooops, I meant left, we’ll have to go around the block.’ You can imagine how calm that makes a new driver. I have now learned to point with my whole hand, and say, ‘We will turn THIS way at the next intersection…’

    Meanwhile, I clean my teeth, brush my hair and do the dishes with my left hand. I can also write quite legibly with my left hand, just not very fast. Yes, we are completely mixed up..

    • The directions I point with my hand doesn’t always agree with the words that one from my mouth. But the finger-pointing is always right, I mean, correct.

      And I’ve done the same thing in driving lessons. But hey, look on the positive side. Neither of us has to worry about the hassle of turns involving trams, and we have to do unbelievable number of hours, so a wrong turn only helps.

  7. haha, Lucinda – I’m the same way. I love when the yoga instructors demonstrate as they speak because then I just copy whatever foot they happen to be using! And I now give directions by pointing and saying “turn that way” because I’ve gotten us lost more than once!

  8. If there was even the slightest doubt about the soul sisters thing with you and Jo… I am right handed. I write like a left hander (page on the side, and hook my hand), and I always look really awkward when I do things because I hold my hand(s) like a leftie even though I am using my right. I got tormented by my grade 5 teacher who couldn’t cope with the sideways paper v illegible back-sloping handwriting. The number of dusters he threw at me…

    I CANNOT tell left from right unless I have time to think about it (and even then, there’s a 50/50 chance I’ll still muck it up). I prefer THIS way (being the side of the car I am on) and THAT way (which is the other side) I don’t have to think about it. By the time I go through the whole “I write with my right hand therefore this hand must be right and I want to turn left so that’s the other way” I’ve missed the intersection completely. That whole north south east west rubbish? Pfft.

    • I remember west/east by remember West Australia is in the west.

      I think I never got into sailing, not because I lived in the burbs far from water and I was in the wrong socio-ec range, but because the whole port/starboard thing was just beyond me.

      Ahhh, the era of teachers being able to throw dusters! A lost time of random violence! Miss it.

  9. Pingback: Adding to left and right confusion | lucinda sans

  10. Pingback: How should we get around in France? | lucinda sans

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