August 16, 2013
I’ve said this before to a patient, “cover your right eye.” Sometimes there’s a pause. I’m pretty sure I’d pause too because I often times do a mental check to be sure I pick the right (correct) eye. I also noticed that I might accidentally say, “that’s right.” That’s usually not misunderstood but if I say that (right) after I was talking about one of their eyes, there could be some confusion there. So I do my best to answer affirmatively by saying, “that’s correct.”
There are other conversations many of us have (not in the exam room) about directions. How many times has someone said, “take a right.” (Just noticed that last sentence needed a question mark but I didn’t know where to put it.) I prefer to give the compass direction as in, turn east. But that’s just as confusing to some people. We don’t have a compass on us I don’t think and the mountains that are to the west in my area aren’t always visible to orient oneself.
The GPS voice gives directions to me. I can’t remember if it is a female or male but that doesn’t matter. Why does the brain not easily process the direction our GPS gave us? I’m exiting off the freeway and the GPS says, “stay to the right.” I don’t know if that means get in the far right lane or if it means don’t get in the left lane. If I’m exiting I’m usually going to the right anyway.
If I’m talking to someone and they are facing me and they tell me to “take a right.” My brain pulls up the app that analyzes that direction and I admit that my brain app must not have the latest upgrade because the process seems to go like this. The person I’m facing might mean turn right if I were standing in their shoes. Or they could have been putting themselves in my shoes and turning right. Or perhaps they just meant if you’re going west then turn right, or we just have to assume that we’re at the “right” intersection that they were talking about and then we take a right.
Let’s not even get started on whether someone is right or not. Why do we give a direction attribution when we might just be agreeing with them? Where did this word even originate? I would like to know right now!
I just typed in google, “define:right.” You can see what that says. I guess it’s right.