On being left-handed
Have you ever been shown how to tie a knot by a right-handed person? “The end goes round this, over that, round again and under the other.OK? . . . Now you do it.” Good teaching, useful learning – if you’re right-handed.
But it can be a real trial if you’re left-handed. A left-hander will pick up the rope and find that what s/he sees in front of him/her is different from the demonstration. It’s not necessarily the fault of the teacher, from the start it just doesn’t “look right”. S/he has to think it through again. Sometimes this takes time and the student appears slow, sometimes not.
I have spent most of my life bemused by the gap between how I am told I should be doing this or that task and how I end up doing it. I have driven several severely right-handed teachers wild with frustration. Older now and hopefully a little wiser, I am still left-handed and that gap between theory and action has not diminished.
In fact, I have come to enjoy it. Within what I always think of as a deceptively slow approach, life neither follows a straight line nor flashes by in black and white. There is an opportunity to stand back and observe. And there is an opportunity to be creative.
On the boat, it is not the left or right hand that is so important, it is the wish to observe, and, from that, the desire to create.