Right, Left, Right, Left, Right

I have no sense of right and left at all. If you’re like most normal people, you probably just feel right and left. I have absolutely no such feelings. Even that “L” trick doesn’t work for me. I stare at my hands and develop sudden dyslexia, wildly thinking, “THEY BOTH LOOK LIKE Ls.”

When I first told Bart about this, I think he didn’t realize just how serious I was about this. Now, five years later, when I’m giving directions, he’ll always say, “Which right?” so that I point in the right direction. It really is that bad.

Last week, I ordered new contacts. They were a different brand than my last set because this brand was about half the price, so I was little anxious to see if they’d work out okay. When they came, I quickly popped them in. One of them was really giving me issues – inside out, making my eyes burn, etc – so it wasn’t until about five minutes later that I realized I really couldn’t see very well.

I was getting dinner ready and I could not focus very well on the recipe. I just couldn’t see it. I went into the living room and stared into the mirror for a while, trying to focus. Still no luck. I double checked the prescription on the new boxes against the old boxes to make sure I’d actually ordered the right prescription.

I wondered if it would just take me a while to adjust to a new kind of lens. I panicked about how I would POSSIBLY be able to drive to school the next day when I just couldn’t see that clearly.

And then, as you’ve probably already guessed, but had NEVER occurred to me in that 30 minutes, I realized I had put them in the wrong eyes. Because I really do not know my right side from my left side.

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  • Reply Shelly March 10, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    You poor, sweet girl. That's a very funny story!

  • Reply Jen Leffler March 10, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    I always have to give directions to people using cardinal directions because I have trouble with left and right as well. However, that doesn't help most people – there have been too many car rides with me saying "turn north at the next light" with the driver going "left or right?" followed by silence.

  • Reply Mrs.Bump March 10, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    Let me try to post a comment again, and this time make sense.

    You are not alone. I too suffer from this disability. You can imagine how comical I was in dance classes as a child.

  • Reply Elizabeth March 10, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Ack! Me too! I am constantly made fun of in my family for it but I think it goes along with being bad at math, not great at telling time, horrible at directions, stuff like that.

  • Reply Ari March 10, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Awww lol you remind me of my students. "look to your left… no your OTHER left." 🙂

  • Reply Melanie March 10, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    Me too! I have to think about right and left for an abnormally long time. I like to tell myself that it's really just a sign that I'm extra smart and talented.

  • Reply preethi March 10, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    This is sort of tangential, but along with Elizabeth's comment about being bad at telling time, I have a friend who basically just can't (at least, in any way that anyone can understand). For some reason, she has her own system for relating time – for instance, 12:27 might be "3 'til half past 12" or 4:42 might be "2 past 10 past half past 4."

    This makes things really stressful for her when people ask her what time it is. She was once at Disneyland and a man, clearly seeing the watch on her hand, asked her what time it was. She stared at her watch for a minute, and then got all flustered and just said "I can't tell time!" and walked away. 🙂

  • Reply Katie March 10, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    That's me as well! I never worried about it too much until I got married, and then I realized I am generally a spacial awarenes retard. I have no innate sense of direction. I walk into doorways and sofas because I misjudge how much room I'm going to need. I usually just guess right or left and hope my guess works out right(it's 50/50 anyhow). When I give directions in the car, I point, but Josh doesn't like that much. So I have started going back to the L trick and thinking hard before I commit to right or left. Still not too effective, but whatever.

  • Reply Packrat March 10, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    Oh poor you! My daughter isn't quite as bad as you, but almost. I'll say something like "right" and she'll just look at me or go the other way. I've finally learned to ask, "Which hand do you write with? Go that way." (I cannot comprehend push/pull signs on doors. I always do the opposite. Makes people laugh, so I just make a joke about not being able to read.)

  • Reply Hull.Margaret March 10, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    My daughter is dyslexic, and guess what she married a man who is also. They have a really "fun" time when they are driving and trying to give each other directions.

  • Reply Shannon March 10, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    I think I read somewhere once that this is a real THING. I have it too, and my family thinks I'm nuts. And I have a reputation for being "really bad at directions, butweloveyouanyway!" that I was totally unaware of! And both hands look like Ls to me too. Ah, great minds think alike! 🙂

  • Reply craftyashley March 10, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    Me too! People ask me if I'm right handed or left handed- and I freeze. Then I usually blurt out "I don't know! I'm just normal-handed!"

    With directions I'm much better with N, E, S, W. No matter where I am, I can tell you where North is. It is like my own personal superpower.

  • Reply Melissa March 11, 2010 at 1:00 am

    I am directionally challenged as well. It's been a nightmare at work, where my coworkers give all directions as west of or north of. It doesn't help me.

    As for fresh contacts from the box, I pull out the receipt that clearly states left/ right and then place the containers on the left side and right side of my sink, then double check it again before placing the new ones in. I have had the same dilemma of mixing them up.

  • Reply Chelsea March 11, 2010 at 1:25 am

    I don't have the right/left problem, but even I've put my contacts in the wrong eyes before. Very crazy. I usually figure it out pretty quickly though. I am that blind!

  • Reply Anna March 11, 2010 at 1:36 am

    Sounds to me like you are doing very well without knowing your right from your left.

    Good for you!

  • Reply Jamie Onken March 11, 2010 at 2:46 am

    My very good friend Stacy is the same way. In high school we stopped saying left and right while driving and instead said "your side" or "my side" to let her know what way to turn.

  • Reply Claudia March 11, 2010 at 2:49 am

    I can figure out south, north, east and west if the sun is shining. I am left handed, so right is always my left, when giving directions to my husband.

  • Reply Angella March 11, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    You are so adorable, girl. 🙂

  • Reply Miriam March 12, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    I can't keep north/south directions straight – have no idea what direction I'm traveling. I rely heavily on right and left since I can't ever say "go East"! I think it's all part of the same ailment!

  • Reply oatsnboats March 24, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    You're in good company. When I was younger I used to have to use bike turn signals to figure out my right and left, and that's not subtle AT ALL. But growing up in a bike town, I knew which direction I went if I put my hand out straight, and which direction if I put out my arm bent at the elbow. And then I knew that the straight signal was for a left turn and the bent arm was for a right turn… so that's how I did it for years and years. I'm lucky that the L trick works for me now, but it took awhile to learn that one.
    Glad your prescription isn't messed up! That would be much more of a hassle than switching contacts.

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