Most right-handed, and perhaps even most left-handed people, don’t realize how many things in life are geared toward right-handed people. From shaking hands to using a can opener or coffee pot, almost everything we do on a daily basis is designed for the right-handed population.
I didn’t realize this was a problem until an injury forced me to be left-handed. I broke my collarbone skiing three weeks ago and have been wearing a sling to keep my right arm immobile.
At first, being left-handed meant re-learning physical skills like brushing my teeth, showering and eating with a fork or spoon. But lately, I’ve been noticing more and more little problems left-handed people face. Like opening a can of tuna. The twister part of the can opener is on the right side, so you’re supposed to hold the can with your left hand and twist with your right hand. I can hold the can, but twisting puts a little too much pressure on my hurt arm, so I tried switching the can to my right hand. The problem is, the can opener doesn’t clamp properly onto the can if it’s on the left side of the can. I had to ask my roommate for help with that task.
Credit-card swipers have proved the most awkward and embarrassing part of being left-handed. Every time I go shopping, I stare at the swiper for a few seconds, mentally questioning why there isn’t a swiper on the left side of the reader. I tell the cashier, “This’ll take a few minutes. Sorry.” And then I awkwardly twist my left hand around to swipe the card. Try it next time you’re shopping, and you’ll see why it’s awkward.
Other common tasks I’ve had to adjust for include turning the key in a car ignition, shifting gears in a car, and opening double doors in public places. Coffee pots and measuring cups have the measurement labels on the side nearer the handle, so if I hold the cup with my left hand, I can’t read the labels. All the desks in my classes are made for right-handed people. So are scissors and computer mouses.
So for just a few weeks of my life, I’ve been forced to live like a left-handed person, and it has opened my eyes. Maybe the world needs more left-handed amenities. But to be honest, after I get this sling off, I probably won’t worry much about the plight of my left-handed brothers and sisters.