I am left-handed. A southpaw. Nothing extraordinary about that. Like many, I am a little bit proud to be in the minority (10 or 12 per cent of the population, depending on the stats you read – and again a little bit special because most lefties are men, including Obama, Einstein and Bowie). I also like to believe all the stuff about our being a bit more creative and better at tennis, while ignoring the news that we suffer from more behavioural problems and have a shorter life expectancy.
But recently I’ve noticed an odd preference of mine, and wonder if other left-handers share this? My preference is for being on the right-hand side of things. And I don’t mean politically. I mean being physically on the right.
For example, during a poetry weekend with the great Don Paterson, he sat at one end of the room and, as we all filed in, we could sit at any of a series of desks in a U formation. I immediately chose a desk that meant I was looking towards Don to my right. Later that day, the person next to me spotted the strangest thing: that everyone down our side of the room was left-handed, while those opposite were not. Perhaps an odd coincidence, but I filed away the observation.
I’m not crazy about flying, and in the last few months I’ve noticed I always choose a seat to the right of the aisle. I’d never given this any importance, and I’m not at all superstitious. Last time I flew, for some reason I had to swap with someone on the other side of the aisle. It felt really odd and, I’ll admit, I felt ‘less safe’ on the left – somehow more exposed and vulnerable. Knowing this to be illogical, I gritted it out – but I didn’t like it.
But perhaps most alarming of all is that when driving I’ve become aware that I like to sit in the fast lane for as long as possible. This is not because I fancy myself as Nico Rosberg or Lewis Hamilton. And my battered old Polo can’t comfortably go above 70mph for long. I just like the feeling of ‘the edge’ to my right rather than to my left. And I now prefer driving in Spain (even though I have vastly more experience in the UK), so that I can feel good in the slow lane – with the plains of Seville close by at my right elbow.
Am I alone among lefties in this longing for the right?