Sunday, March 22, 2009

I will never be an Air Traffic Controller!

I've always had a problem. Right through my life, this particular problem of mine has caused either great hilarity, extreme embarrassment or made me feel very dumb. Especially if it was pointed out (yet again) by my big brother. I thought I was alone.

You see - I cannot tell which way is left, from which way is right. I'm left/right challenged. If someone tells me to turn right, you have a 50/50 chance that I'll turn left instead.

I remember the day I was in the car showing someone where to go, and I was pointing left and saying ....

"turn right, right, turn right here - what are you doing? I said Turn right!"

My friend stopped the car and said quietly..

"I did turn right"

"But I was pointing too - didn't you see?"

"Show me which direction you were pointing" he asked

I pointed 'right' again.

"That's left" he said

'Oh' Silence. Then uncontrollable giggling.

See what I mean? It's a real real problem.

No matter how many people have given me tips to tell what is right or left, you 'write' with your 'right hand', and when you open the thumb and forefinger of your left hand it forms an 'L' for 'Left'. It makes no difference, none at all. I just can't get it.

So I've been googling for answers on the internet. There's nothing much out there that tells of the 'why', but there are some interesting facts and figures.

Firstly, I'm not alone. At least 15% of the population have some trouble with left and right. In fact researchers thing it may be as high as 26% as there is a certain number of the population that will not admit to having a problem for fear of ridicule. That certain number is... MEN! (If they don't like asking for directions - they're not about to admit they're left/right challenged!)

So - of those 15%, it is more likely that people with a left/right problem are Female. Researchers actually think it's more even that than but again, men won't admit they have a problem.

Research says it has nothing to do with IQ. I already knew that because I love maths and can solve complex programming problems when trying to manipulate data. But it's a relief that research backs it up. I can't wait to show this to my brother!!!

If you have a left/right problem - you are more likely to have poor map reading skills. This doesn't apply to me - as I can follow maps very easily having just self driven down the coast of California from San Francisco to San Diego not only in a strange country, but also driving on the opposite side of the road to what I'm used to!

If you have a left/right problem - you are more likely to be left handed. Again this doesn't apply to me as I am strongly right handed as shown in this online test I completed.

I got talking about this area with my friend Bron. She admitted she has a problem with vertical and horizontal. This probably means if we were to pilot a plane or spaceship, we probably shouldn't captain it together!

We found another online test that tests your left/right abilities and we both did it for comparison. The first test was up/down - nice and easy - both of us got a 10 second score for this one. The second test was left/right. Bron flew through it getting a score of about 11 seconds. But I found it incredibly hard, and scored a whopping 37 seconds for that. You can try it out yourself here . If you do the test, I would be interested in your results so please comment on this blog with them and tell me how you did.

I found the test incredibly challenging, that it almost hurt my head to figure it out. I'm sure if I had taken any longer, I would have ended up with a bad headache.

While all this is very interesting, I can find nothing about why. Why does my brain not allow me to see left or right correctly? With huge difficulties, I can eventually work it out, but it never has been, and probably never will be instantaneous like other people.

I do hope my surgeons are not one of the males that don't admit there is a problem of left and right. Maybe I should shave a big X into my head before next monday on the side I need the operation!!!


Mog said...

I got 16 seconds for up and down, and 20 seconds for right and left.

I haven't a clue what this means but I don't have any trouble with Right and Left at all.

suthrngrl said...

I did as Mog did ... 16 and 20. Since I don't consider myself challenged in either respect, I have my doubts as to how well these tests are structured. By the way, I am challenged with the words horizontal and vertical ... I do have a hard time remembering which word is which direction, but if you say up and down or side to side I have no problems at all. Please do more research on this!

ms toast burner said...

lol! I loved this!

I am just like you... I tell people to turn left and if they go the, ahem, wrong way I say, "no!!! the other left!!!"


But, seriously the only way I can discern left from right is by looking at the back of my hands, noticing a freckle and saying to myself, "that's a freckle, right? Right!" I just hope I never get a freckle on my left hand!

Enjoyed this! And found you via Mog's blog.

jelly said...

Found you through Mog's blog as well, hope that's okay!

I used to wear a pair of red chucks when I was a teen, I put a R on one side L on the other, that's how I would tell because I was so silly and forgetful. I have to stop and think now sometimes to, I just figured I'm having a 40 something moment.

Robyn said...

Welcome those from Mog's Blog :) Sounds great doesn't it - Mog and Blog!

Those who have done the tests - Your times are fine - the small differences between the up/down vs right/left is very normal. It's when its lik eme that has huge gaps between it shows some soft of problem!

What are Chucks?

Maybe I need to put R and L on all my clothes to help me :)

jelly said...

lol, Chucks...ummm...Converse sneakers? Remember those?
I had red ones and I now I have blue ones that I don't wear often, because my wife says I look like I have clown feet. Ha.

Yeah, you could put labels on your clothes! There ya go!! lol

Mog's blog...hee.

Carol said...

oh dear.... well... I think I am in a time and space vacuum! I got a massive 20 seconds for up and down, then an even bigger 37 seconds for right and left!
to be fair to myself though I was very tired today as I had a migraine last night which affected my sleep and felt foggy all day. Will have to repeat the test I suspect.

Anonymous said...

I have to think about left and right... hardest flat on my stomach on the chiroprator table...horizontal I understand zzzzzzzzzzzz