As a kid, I used to find it amusing that my father had trouble telling left from right. A grown man, for crying out loud!
Then, when I was in college, it started to happen to me. And it hasn't gone away. Two of my sisters have the same problem now too.
The common factor? All of us are to some degree ambidextrous.
This problem was at its worst for me in college and for about 4 years afterward, when I practiced the violin for two hours a day. My left hand was as strong as my right, and I lost all sense of the distinction between them. I write with my right hand, because it IS my dominant hand and it's what I've learned. But I can also write with my left hand. Not well, but I can do it.
When giving directions on how to get somewhere, I have to really concentrate and there's still a chance I'll screw it up. Right vs. Left? They might as well come from a random-word-generator, especially when I'm in a hurry. ALL of the ambidextrous people in my family have this problem, which may be one of the reasons my Dad gives useless directions like "go North" for city streets where almost no-one knows what "North" actually is. Maybe it's a defense mechanism!
I was trying to explain to my son the other day about "mirroring over" things to the non-dominant hand. That works pretty well, until you get to screws and screwdrivers. My instinct is ALWAYS to turn them the wrong way if I'm using my left hand. The mnemonic my husband hammered into his brother is crucial for me: Righty-tighty, lefty-loosey. Even though I have to take a moment to figure out which direction is "right," that still stops me from doing it backwards.
So, now I'm curious about how this goes for the rest of you. Hence, a poll:
I consider myself...
Right in the middle
When it comes to using my hands
I almost always use my dominant hand
I do a lot of things with my other hand
I use the hand that's closest, unless it's something like writing
If you put on mascara, which hand do you use for the "awkward" side?
My dominant hand
What's awkward? I use the hand on that side.
How good are you at telling Right from Left?
Perfect, of course. How is this hard?
I almost never get it wrong
Pretty good, but I'm not always reliable
I have to concentrate to get it right
I can concentrate 'til the cows come home and still get it wrong
True story from work: Someone came over to take one of my hardware modules for upgrading. These all sit to my left, so I used my left hand to unscrew the thing from the rack. When the guy grabbed the screwdriver away after a few seconds, I said, "Geez! If I'd known you were in a hurry, I'd have used my other hand!" Maybe he just thought I was extra incompetent because he's a lefty himself. :0
ETA: Pet peeve here? Why can't someone make scissors that work with either hand?