short story

the life and (movement) times of a lefty....


When writing, the side of my left hand will be painted in the metallic lead of a pencil, or smudgy ink from a pen by day’s end. This makes me strangely proud.

I tend to think good stuff is on the left and bad stuff is on the right, even though consciously, explicitly, everything in language and culture is telling me the exact opposite.

My Grandad used to tell me left-handers benefit from their unexpected left hook…maybe I should take up fighting…

If I played the guitar, it would be like Elizabeth Cotten . Born in 1895, she was a completely self-taught guitarist. She was left-handed, but played a right-handed guitar that wasn’t even re-strung to be played lefty. She simply turned it upside-down, which meant she played the bass strings with her fingers and the melody with her thumb.

I have trouble opening/locking locks, organising files “back to front”, tying ties, using rulers, working out wind-up toys, writing cheques out, undoing wine corks anti-clockwise, using knives, veg peelers and scissors that were made for your right hand,

I have momentary problems being greeted with a handshake or a kiss on the cheek, hugging, crossing others path on the pavement, being helped to put on a jacket, receiving change…unless the other person is a lefty too.

When I interlock my fingers, my left thumb always sits proudly ontop, I nearly always put belts on ‘upside down’, I'd cup my left ear to tell you I couldn’t hear what you are saying, I start with my left hand to count, I hold my phone to my left ear and would look through a telescope with my left eye and feel much more comfortable seated to the left of someone. If I played the guitar I'd do so like flick through magazines from back to front, line dance on the wrong foot, prefer to start my vinyasa’s on the left and visualise things the opposite way around (it seems to me).

But, perhaps to make sure I fit in, I favor the right side of the bed, when i clap, my right hand is on-top, I scroll with the mouse, brush my teeth and my hair with my right hand, my right eye does all the winking at strangers and if i have an itch to scratch on my back my right hand will be first to the rescue.

My body is less than total in its devotion to my favored side, but I still think my skeleton would give it away. I like to think someone could discover this about me from the writings in my tissues.