My therapist had me try a new exercise. I was supposed to lean my shoulder against the wall, then move my right foot forward a bit. I sat and thought about it, shifted the left foot, then moved my right foot.
“Oh, you’re a motor moron,” she said with a laugh. “That’s what we call people who have trouble distinguishing their right from their left.”
Ah. Well, then, yes. I’m a motor moron. When I was in the Navy and they wanted us to do something involving left or right, I had to think about which hand I salute with (your right), then go from there. But now, I’ve been out of the Navy so long, that my muscle memory of saluting is gone, so I’m back to struggling with right from left.
My wife and I used to have a VHS copy of Richard Simmons’ “Dancing to the Oldies.” We’d do the tape together in our small apartment living room. My wife would watch the dancers and could immediately translate their movements. If they moved to their left, she moved to her left. When they moved to their right, she moved to her right. In other words, she was a mirror opposite of them.
Then there was me. I’d see what they did, which was moving to my right, and I’d follow along, moving to my right. Except, in real time, they were moving to their left. So they’d move to their left. I’d move to my right and my wife would move to her left and bam! We’d run into each other.
“You’re going the wrong way,” she’d say.
“No. They go that way and I’m going that way.”
Needless to say, “Dancing to the Oldies” ended up in the trash because we became frustrated running into each other.
It’s also another reason why I gave up learning Tai-Chi from a video. Sure, I could learn all the moves, but they were backwards. My “Ward Off Left” was “Ward Off Right.” My “Left Brush Knee Twist Step” was “Right Brush Knee Twist Step.” So on and so forth.
Directions? Take two rights and a left, third house on the right. Guess where I’ll end up? So please, give me compass directions. Today I was driving and my wife was showing me a place in the park she goes to relax before heading on to work. I said, “Should I make a left?” but pointed right. She said, “No. Make a right.” “Right. That’s what I said.” “Yeah, right.”
And politics? Because I can’t tell left from right I’ve never been able to figure out what a red or a blue state is.
And of course, if you tell me to come right over, I’ll never make it.