How to Have Fun Practicing to Drive on the Left

If you’ve ever have the pleasure of walking down the sidewalk with me, you’ll have noticed that when there are people walking towards us, I will never NOT ‘go right’ to ensure that the oncoming ‘traffic’ passes me on my left.

This is because although I am right handed (I write with my right), I still wield a sword better with my left arm. I think they call that being ambidextrous.

No, but seriously, I always ‘go right’, to the extent that I might have to shoulder my way through a smaller gap on the right even if there is lots of space on the left.

Most people would consider it OCD, or even early-onset PAS, but I am a man of principle and just care a lot about spatial awareness and following (what should be) standard conventions for collision avoidance and civility.

This would generally include:

  • passing on the left
  • slow traffic keeping right
  • looking left before emerging into a thoroughfare
  • being cognizant of others space

Yes, I’m still talking about walking down the sidewalk.

I don’t think it’s really too much of an exercise in mental gymnastics to consider applying the ‘rules of the road’ to the rest of human trafficked areas (hallways, paths, corridors, trails, and of course sidewalks), but apparently not everyone feels the same.

In fact, most people don’t even waste valuable brain time thinking about these sorts of things, nor do they care how other people behave, and I do at times wish I didn’t care so much.

But I do care, and luckily there is a facebook group of like-minded people so I don’t feel as bad for thinking like such a douche.

A recent sequence of events has shaken up my world though.

It all started when I realized that there is a whole world of customs and cultures and traditions and ‘norms’ outside of North America.

Who knew!?!

I can trace the origin of this particular realization to when I started looking into renting a car in New Zealand and the fact that they still follow the ‘British’ system of driving on the left side of the road.

I guess they are better swordsmen with their right arm…

Either way, I started considering the implications of my staunch adherence to the ‘right’ system when attempting to function properly in a ‘left’ system, and realized my douchebaggery wouldn’t keep me alive very long down there.

So I decided to start playing a little game to practice getting out of the mindset that ‘right’ is right.

I go left.

On sidewalks, paths and trails.

In corridors, hallways and stairwells.

Everywhere I can that wouldn’t be detrimental to my health (i.e. I still drive on the proper side of the road).

My right ‘turns’ (walking around corners in the halls at work) now start against the far left side of the current hallway and end (after looking first right THEN left) against the left side of the destination hallway.

My left ‘turns’ involve starting against the far left side of the current hallway and hugging the corner around to the left side of the destination while looking ONLY right (why would I look left when I’m going there anyway and there is no way that traffic would be coming from the left in these circumstances?).

I think I’ve made some new enemies at work since I started playing this little game.

I’ve very narrowly avoided making a number of people spill giant cups of coffee, drop stacks of papers,  or causing some other form of inconvenience that could easily have been avoided were I sticking to my usual guns.

I guess I have to remember that not everyone is practicing to drive in New Zealand.

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