October 29, 2009

Fianlly Figuring It Out

EleanorRigby wrote:

So, I'm 22 and was forced to write with my right hand for about half a year in the third grade. There were six left handed children out of 16, and my teacher took the high number of lefties as a sign something needed to be done. He saw left-handedness as a sign of a weak will. My parents were hesitant about agreeing to switching me, but were told that all the other parents of lefties had already agreed (so basically pressured into it). One day I came home and told my mother I wished I could cut my right hand off so I wouldn't have to use it anymore. I've been using my left hand for everything ever since.

However, I always considered myself really awkward and clumsy and I could never figure out why I couldn't do simple things like draw a straight line with a ruler - or why the arrow keys on keyboards were in such an inconvenient place. The biggest thing, was I always hated taking pictures because they came out so blurry and it the process was so awkward. I never realized that this was due to having to press the button down with my weaker hand, which I'm unable to hold as steady. It's such a relief to know that it's not cos I'm dumb or bad at things - just that I'm a lefty! So I've started switching everything I can (computer mouse, hold cameras upside down) around to be more comfortable for me. My friends think my obsession with pointing out things that are designed to put lefties at a disadvantage is annoying and whiny. When I point out places where there is no left-handed equipment (I used to work in a deli - all the slicers are for right-handers) they tell me that it's not a big deal - however, I've seen right handers get really, really worked up when they come into a class and find a left-handed desk where they usually sit (and things like that).

Has anyone else had this kind of experience with their friends/peers?

Also, I have a really hard time telling right from left. I usually say left when I mean right and vice versa. People hate having me give them driving directions. I've heard that this is a lefty thing? Has anyone else found that to be true?

October 12, 2009

Library Computers Discriminate Against Lefties

Lefty Lady wrote:

Last week I attended a class in the Cal State Northridge Library. I moved the mouse to the left-hand side and then attempted to reverse the mouse buttons. Normally I simply use control Panel to change the mouse settings. But Control Panel was not visible on the library's computer. There was an "Accessibility" menu, but none of the things listed there had anything to do with making the computer accessible to lefties. I asked the librarian in charge of the class how to switch the mouse buttons. She didn't know how and went to get someone else. She came back with a guy who told me that there was no way to switch the buttons because Control Panel had been disabled for security reasons. He claimed that I was the first person who had ever asked for this. I told him I wouldn't be the last. He said it would probably be another twelve years before that happened. Wow! My right handed friends agreed with me that his response was inappropriate. And, seriously, if we were talking about accessibility for people who speak Japanese (which was available on that computer) would it matter how many or how often? Would the library refuse to meet the needs of all the various ethnic and religious groups, deaf people, or people with disabilities who are on campus, simply because they haven't often made these requests? I don't think so.

Reversing the mouse button is a simple thing that has been easy to do on PCs for many, many years. Not every lefty reverses the mouse buttons, but many do. In fact, even some righties do this, so they can use the mouse in the left hand while taking notes with the right. The point is, those of us who need to use the mouse in this perfectly normal way should not be placed at a disadvantage.

So here's my request. Whether or not you are left-handed, and whether or not you prefer to switch the mouse buttons, if you are a CSUN student (or anyone who has business on campus) please go to the library and ask for help reversing the mouse buttons for left-handed use. Be polite but firm. In your conversation with the librarian, make sure you use the word "accessible". For example, "It's hard to use the library when the computers aren't accessible." Or, "How do you plan to address this accessibility problem?" You might also want to use the word "discrimination", as in, "I'm very surprised to find this kind of discrimination going on here."

"Sinister" Survey

CuriousRightHander wrote:

My father is a lefty and he was typing in IM to me last night and instead of responding with "k" when I told him I'd be right back, he typed "d".  I noticed right off that he had used the correct finger, just on the wrong hand.  He commented that it had been a big problem when he was learning to type because it was a common occurrence for him.  I'm curious if any other left handers out there have noticed the same type of situation in any capacity.  Does the brain of the left handed person sometimes get confused as to which side of the body should make the desired motion?  I know that left handed brains work a bit differently and I'm wondering if this is one of those things.  Thanks in advance.