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.

22 October 2007

21 October 2007

rearing up

hiking surprise, originally uploaded by McBeth.

Here's the place where I will tell you about my idiotic tendencies.
Once I've listed them properly, I mean.

How do I fail thee? Let me count the ways.

We like to think we’re cooperative caring beings. We are. I mean, we do have good in us, we do good things for others and we strive to be the best at whatever and whoever we are. I don’t fault us for this tendency to overbrighten by omission, but I think this rosy painting can make it very difficult to belly up to the confessional bar with a contrite and accurate picture painting heart.

Therefore, I’m taking this opportunity to lay prostrate some of my embarrassing and otherwise bad habits out - right here; right now.

- I had to stop taking my child fishing because I’d get so sucked into my own mesmerizing fishing challenge place that I’d get snippy with him if he had 6 year old audacity to say something as untoward as, “I need your help, Mom. My lure got caught in weeds”. How dare he expect me to put down my own pole to help his little frustrated self!

- I don’t ever corner well. Give me the opportunity to escape out a back hatch during times of conflict or I promise you it will turn ugly, quickly.

- I regularly, unintentionally, leave things behind. Everywhere. Meds, phone chargers, books, clothing, just about any personal item that can be picked up, transported, and set down elsewhere. I live between my own home and KD’s apartment but the materials I bring along with me to her place are things I am actively using and want to have nearby, so there is a regular assortment of personal items I schlep back and forth in my car that stands a very good chance of never finding their ways home with me. As a matter of fact, if you visit Tutto Pasta et Trattoria’s lost and found box, you’re welcome to the lovely double-sized umbrella with pie slices of the brightest primary colors and a solid good-feeling grippable wood handle because – for as many times as I’ve forgotten or have left behind my favorite (fill in the blank) – I could not be bothered to go back to collect my beloved umbrella after I’d been there shooting stills for my brother’s friends' short film. I also like thinking that it’s really okay that I leave things behind and lose what I mean to hold onto because, as I’ve rationalized it, someone else who really really needs them will be thrilled to re-use all I leave behind. I hope some person is relieved to have found those fantastically cozy form-fitting winter gloves I invested in then promptly misplaced last year.

- At my old meat factory office job there was a handsome man who came weekly to tend to the rented plants all over the building. I had a crush on him and, because he so closely resembled the More Little Visits with God caucasian storybook version of the white hairy muscular savior with the kind eyes, I renamed the plant guy Jesus. But to be clear, I didn’t want him to get too big a head (‘hey everyboddddyyyy, lookit me I’m all walkin’ on water and everything!’) so I called him Hay-zeus. I called Raphael, or whatever his real name was, Hayzeus. To his face. Anyway, Hayzeus and I flirted shamelessly with one another every Thursday when he was tending our office rental plants and one day, while he was leaning over my desk to reach a peace lily, I asked him what kind of plants he kept at his home. I imagined a garden of Eden sorta setup – an atrium dense with lush tropical varieties and colorful birds flitting back and forth between the highest branches. Hayzeus paused from what he was doing to look at me and he responded with a guffaw. Then he said, “Are you kidding? I take care of plants all day long, every day of the week. The last thing I want to look at when I go home from my job taking care of plants is more plants that need tending to. I have no plants at home. None. And I like it that way.” I thought Hayzeus’ response was hilarious, and it wasn’t until this year that I realized I have started down that same road. I help a friend tend her large gardens every week and while I do adore pulling weeds, I’d be completely weeded out by the time I’d get home and my garden started to look like the exterior ‘before’ image of an Extreme Home Makeover yard. I expect that there are Wild Thing creatures living below the thistle flowers and the puffy dandelion heads; even below the creeping Charlie which, near as I can tell, has established dominance over all other green leafy things I’d purposefully planted over the years. I can talk the gardening talk but I fall short of being a capable representative of walking the gardening walk. What the hell, I figure, most of the weeds are green and mostly blend in; the slugs need somewhere to establish residency if they’re ever to receive mail so they can get a library card, and I take care of others’ gardens so I expect a full pardon on my lack of attention to my own. More than anything, this all makes me misty and examinate about my Thursdays with Hayzeus because I really think we could’ve gone somewhere with my newfound sympathetic understanding of the difficulties inherent in his career.

- I exercise so I can rationalize eating more. I cannot claim this as my own personal discovery, by the way; my friend Claudia started me along this particular road to self-discovery the night she said she was feeling stuck and couldn’t decide whether to shake the ennui by going to the gym or by crawling under the blankets. We agreed that she could maybe go to the gym for an abbreviated workout routine (‘forget about the free weights, just do the treadmill’) and she could then reward her righteousness with a bottle of wine coupled with tasty undelicate servings of mostly off-limits food. I’ve come to realize that I dangle reward carrots in front of my own nose for just about everything I do that I don’t want to do. C’mon McB., just make the bed as soon as you get out of it and as reward for your fantastic bed-making you can then go downstairs to the kitchen where the coffee grinder and electric kettle will be waiting for you. Or, clean off the surface of the computer desk, then you can play 22 continuous games of Bejeweled 2. Or, collect the mail from the mailbox and if you actually open any of the envelopes you can then watch two hours of mindless television. If you don’t open the envelopes, mmm, you can still watch two hours of mindless television, because you’ll be upset with yourself for not having opened the mail and two hours of mindless television will help soothe your agitation.

- I tried having a bitch-free week, yet I complained the entire time about how a full week is too long to have to go without complaining. I’d appreciate partial credit for not having shared my complaint-free week of complaints with others.
- Any laundry in the washer or dryer that is in the way of my own laundry will be dealt with as I see fit. That's just too bad if you want your clean shirts hung on hangers, if you weren’t there to immediately hang them the way you prefer, you’ll get your shirts I’ve had to deal with in a folded stack. I will be courteous enough to at least turn them outside-out so you can differentiate between the dirty clothes on your floor and the clean clothes I’ll stack on your bed that you will inevitably toss onto the floor.

- I constantly chew the inside of my mouth. My dentist would be appalled.

- I have generous definitions of the things that can be Febreezed to include dirty laundry that I want to wear but can’t be bothered to wash.

I’m not sure I can continue this accumulated list of my bad habits further than a toe dip into this brief list. I can always come back to it, right? Like, right after I watch two more hours of mindless television.

So what are yours?

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