Thursday, 5/23/02

My new goal: ambidexterity. The technical control I have over my hands is severely polarized toward the right, and this bothers me. If I think of my hands as my children (and what artist, at some level, doesn't?), then my right hand is the bright-eyed, obedient youth with straight-A's and a promising future, and my left hand leaves drool on the floor of the short bus.

This skewed manual ability is most apparent at the piano. The musical competence of my left hand is comparable to that of the cowbellist in a symphony orchestra -- it can hit single quarter notes well, and can't do much else. My latest attempt to remedy this situation is a training exercise I call "piano simon". I play a lick in the right hand, and then clumsily attempt to mimic it two octaves lower. It can get frustrating. My right hand instinctively inserts grace notes and trills wherever possible and flows through them effortlessly; my left hand thuds out these ornamentals with all the grace of an offensive lineman trying out for the ballet. This sort of thing.

I've got a couple other training drills going on here at left hand boot camp. My single-handed typing rate is at about 40 WPM (that's lowercase only, but no cheating), which is, curiously enough, just a little under half of my two-handed rate. I suppose that indicates some sort of fair division of labor. I'm also slowly getting the hang of shooting hoops left-handed. This skill is sure to prove invaluable in my sporadic games of "Horse" with Chris, which inevitably end up degenerating into contests of who can come up with the most convoluted, ludicrous way of throwing a basketball. ("Okay, left eye closed, left hand behind the back, left foot off the ground..." Clang.)

One seemingly obvious activity that I have been specifically avoiding is writing with the left hand. I've heard too many stories of naturally left-handed children in the Old Days being forced into writing right-handed, which consequently made them all go blind. Or something. It is possible I'm getting my urban legends mixed up. Hey, I just thought of something else I could practice left-handed.

Moving on... My sleep schedule for the next couple days is likely to be a little unusual. Even for me. I take Rahul to the airport at 8 am tomorrow morning, I take my parents to the airport at 3 am that night, and then Donna's graduation is at 9 am, with a celebratory BBQ that afternoon. Should be interesting. Or hell. Whatever.

My parents will be spending the next month touring China, which is apparently the sort of thing that newly retired people like to do. I could be with them if I had any desire to whatsoever; I've been fending off near-weekly invitations for the last six months. I actually know a small amount of Cantonese, mostly various mushy and/or vulgar phrases that my ex-girlfriend saw fit to teach me and/or call me at one point or another. Not exactly a serviceable vocabulary, really. Now that I think about it, I even have a friend who lives in China, inasmuch as half a year's worth of ICQ messages could be construed a friendship. But she and I have fallen out of contact recently, and in any case, flying halfway around the world to show up at the doorstep of a girl I've never met is sure way to learn the Chinese word for "stalker".

Okay, time for bed. Six hours of sleep before my forty hours of awake. My left hand has had a big day, and needs its rest.

I heard that. Shut up.