Last week I was off finishing up a contract when I noticed one of the girls in the office staring at me, the type of stare normally reserved for the blacks drinking from whites only water fountains in Mississippi during the 1960’s, gays attending an evangelical church conference, or a severe burns victim.
‘Is everything ok?’ I asked, putting my pen down.
‘You’re left handed’ she pointed out, almost accusingly. Obviously she’d never seen a ‘Southpaw’ up close before, perhaps her only exposure being a leftie idiot savant who ‘liked sling blades’ but accidentally beat children to death with rocks. I could see it in her eyes, the sort of eyes that said ‘being left is a choice so don’t flaunt it round these parts.’
‘And you’re ok with it?’ she continued.
‘Ok with what?’
‘You know, being all left?’
‘It’s not really something I can do anything about, I was born this way.’
‘My grandma says it’s a choice.’
‘You’re grandma isn’t the most educated of people is she?’
‘Well at least she ain’t a leftie.’
…this was not a time for ‘touches’….
I picked up my pen, partly in an act of defiance, partly because there was work to be done ‘You can get it fixed right? – like there’s lots of mutations they can fix these days’.
“It’s not a mutation’
‘I’m just surprised with all the advancements in technology you haven’t done anything bout it.’
‘It’s not something you can fix’.
‘Oh, that’s a shame – I’m sure if you wanted to change you could, but I guess you minorities like your soap boxes. Personally couldn’t think of anything worse.’
‘Really? You couldn’t think of anything worse then being left handed?’
She spat out what was left of her chewing tobacco and sized me up one last time.
‘I had to hit a ball with my left hand once, looked like a spastic – now if you ask me that ain’t no way to live.’
And with that she went back to work, or posting anti abortion rhetoric on the web, I didn’t want to speculate.
This wasn’t the first time I’d faced the ‘idiot brigade’ (a group of like minded people generally set up to pontificate about subjects they know little to nothing about).
At a pub once playing pool a small man, who after inadvertently trying to touch my vagina 2-3 times while trying to reach his beer, noticed rather suddenly as I was about to take my shot that I was in face left handed – he called it out from the other side of the room ‘well fuck me till Tuesday she’s a leftie…shit hand jobs but gotta give em an A for effort’.
So now we were bad at manual labour, which further compounded what the lady at the supermarket check out once said to me as a signed for my purchase.
‘you think you guys be extinct by now, what with survival of the fittest and all, I mean statistically you’re more likely to be schizophrenic, more prone to alcoholism, dyslexia, Chron’s disease and mental disabilities…like you hear all them people going on about how getting rid of a kid when they have the downy gene, if it were me and my kid was a leftie, I’d have to say I ‘d give it some thought – I mean most of you can’t even cut paper.’
Ok –she was right there, most of us (lefties) remember primary school and being allocated the special green Crayola scissors sans blades! And it didn’t matter how many times you tried to tell the teacher that you didn’t have a learning disability you were never allowed on the swing like the other kids and, were supervised unlike the right handed kids in class whenever you required a toilet trip, or any other trip that involved being responsible for locking your own door.
Registering at a doctor’s surgery one day, my boyfriend noted that I had failed to put anything in the ‘suffer from any other condition we should know about’ section.
‘You should let them know you’re a left handed.’
‘Cause what if they give you the wrong medication?’
‘Maybe you should put down you’re Jewish’.
‘That’s being stupid, it’s not an illness – it’s something you’re born with.’
‘But what if they give you medication for Christians?’
‘What a stupid thing to say Lou, for a smart girl you can be so ignorant sometimes, I mean you try being part of a minority.’
I was banned from writing on the board at school because I was a ‘smudger’, a devout Catholic wouldn’t sit next to me once because I was powered by the hand of the devil; this was a girl mind you who masturbated next to me 8 months later in church, but to her credit she used she used her right hand – the hand that Jesus would’ve used.
My mum even took me to a left-handed support group once (where you could buy the T-Shirt; ‘Once you’ve turned left you won’t want the rest’), where an expert on the affliction came along to talk to us (he was right handed). He told us that in his experience that being left handed was just one of life’s anomalies – sure we all had a predisposition to violent primitive crimes, but we also be geniuses in the making, basically that we made up the extremely gifted – we all smiled – but he continued – ‘but a majority will find that you make up the extremely compromised’, and we should be encouraged to get involved in wrestling and boxing – any sort of primitive sport that doesn’t involve thought or reason – we were after all left handed and according to Darwin’s theory of evolution should’ve been killed off years ago – and then he asked if there were any more chocolate biscuits left to go with his tea.
The mutants in the room all grunted, some even banged their chests…but chose not to attack…our time would come.