23 October 2007

left in a right world

I'm nothing if not adaptable, but here is a short list of things that, as a left-hander, I find short-sighted and terribly frustrating...

The door of the microwave oven hinges on the left. The control buttons are on the right side. This is not the most accessible design for lefties.

Dish soap comes in a right-hand form-fitting plastic container that has to be poured using the right hand (else, big whoop for the meticulously designed form-fitting hand grip). The flip top also works easiest if you flip with the right hand. To dispense using my left hand means the front of the bottle faces away from me so I get to stare at the directions, with which I am now infinitely familiar.

Shampoo and other personal care products also come in flip-top containers that look sleek and cleanly designed from the front. But for a left hander to use the product, the container has to be turned around backwards. And again, companies are manufacturing so-called ergonomic containers, but they're catering to the righty market. Those bastahds.

Good luck taking an 8th grade music class if you're a lefty. All the school guitars were strung for right handers. Lefties have to just make it work or, as my cousin Patrick did, purchase a lefty guitar.

Some knives are sharpened on both sides of the blade, yes. But most of the kitchen knives in the drawer have a blade edge that is quite specifically fantastic for a right hander, while they pose a safety hazard for lefty me.

Oh good lord, the stories I could tell about scissors.
Starting from the earliest years, all those dumb safety scissors were made for right handed students, leaving the left handers to bend their construction paper more often than successfully cutting it. One of my favorite gifts from my mother that I still use so much that it lies at the front of the drawer full of dangerous kitchen implements is a left-hander's kitchen scissor. Big, fat red handles and heavy bone cutting blades on that sucker. Which, incidentally, never goes missing because it is one of the few things that nobody else in the house can use.

I would like to add a few more un-left items that popped to mind as I was listing the previous.

- Sewing classes. Try learning to knit or crochet when being instructed by a righty who refuses to adapt the lessons to my dominant - their non-dominant - hand.

- Ink pens. A lefty can generally forget about using gel pens unless she doesn't mind carrying the smudgy remnants on the edge of her left hand. Most other ink pens pose the same trouble, unless the lefty learns to hold their hand below the writing line so as to keep a clean paw. Fortunately, I saw that one coming early-on and it's less of a problem.

- Holy crap, can I just add that my favorite item of all - MY CAMERA - is a right-dominant tool. I cry foul.


phd student said...

my Mother and I had WW III when she insisted I learn how to knit _AND_ crochet right-handed while being a lefty!

It's only been in the last year or so that I can pick up a crochet hook or knitting needles and not have horrible memories swim through my head.

I still knit and crochet right-handed. :/

phd student said...

Oh...I remember the hell with scissors and not being able to cut neatly. My grandmother purchased left-handed sewing scissors for me while my mother yelled at me for not cutting a nice clean edge.

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