Nay_ho_tze's Medicine Musings

Directionally Challenged
intersection traffic pattern diagram
when i shared the diagram at left to my Facebook page, i found the amount of self-defensiveness it illicited curious because i hadn’t posted it to challenge anyone – i posted it to help folks like me who are directionally challenged for different reasons -
for instance, children of the woodlands do not enjoy consistent access to the sun's placement in the sky throughout the day and perceive direction in a very different manner than a child of the plains ... 
i am severely directionally challenged … 
you see, i was born left-handed at a time when it was common to see left-handedness
as an indication of the devil’s presence, a belief that is most likely biblically based,
as hinted at in this Christian discussion -
That's how it happened that pediatricians of the time often encouraged
that a child's left-handedness be switched, a seemingly inocuous practice  … 
the difficulty arises because a person’s dominant handedness
is his/her north pole for assessing direction … 
when that dominance is messed with , the person suffers directional blindness,
a very real condition which impacts not only the ability to discern direction,
but also the ability to communicate/understand directions. 
This is why when i must give directions to the driver in a moving car
(which i avoid whenever possible for obvious reasons),
i will use my hands as i speak and i tell the driver, don’t follow my words, follow my hands … 

the idea of directionally challenged is easier to grasp if we keep in mind 
that direction is quantified as two intersecting pairs of cardinal axes – 
north-south, east-west.  
from this then it becomes evident that directionally challenged refers
not only to left-right but also to up-down  …
any gyroscope demonstrates interference with either of these pairs
will affect the remaining pair

this impacts perception in very unexpected ways:
for example, as a bookkeeper i found it affected how i perceive numbers -
yes, numbers are very directional – they ‘go’ up and down, don’t they? 

so it is that for us who must translate directionally challenged into the fine art of driving, 
the process is not the same as it is for the normal population … 
hand motions, landmarks, and diagrams help us a lot 
which is why i posted the diagram. to help those like me with this lifelong struggle -
to this day whenever i approach that kind of intersection, 
i still come to full mindful alertness, and i still think i get it wrong sometimes … 

btw, did i mention that i also grew up in the woodlands?
it’s a wonder i have a generally pristine driving record 😉


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