Daily Prompt: Complicated – a matter of how you look at it

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The Swiss can be complicated at times, although Mr. Swiss disagrees and finds the english are more complicated.  Who me? Never. Just the simple way I lay the table has an mistake, something to do with driving on the wrong side of the road or walking with your partner on the wrong side. Note the knife. I mean a knife is a knife, but no, a knife is to be placed in the right position with the blade side facing the fork. No problem. I let him change it, it is a free country and we can all do what we want to do. And there is nothing worse than a lonely fork.

Of course the salad dish is on the left next to the fork as a logical connection to eating the salad. We all, most of us (even including complicated me) eat our salad only with the fork. Problems can arise if spaghetti is served. You eat the spaghetti with a fork and large spoon. In this case even the Swiss admit that the fork is now on the right side and the spoon on the left. What does complicated Mrs. Angloswiss do in this case. She puts the salad dish on the right, because that is where the fork is now. However, a disagreement arises Mr. Swiss finding that the salad dish should remain on the lefthand side of the plate, as always. We did exchange a few words about this develpment, but I decided to give up. There are more important things to discuss other than table arrangements.

The problem can develop if you take a walk with your swiss partner, and you are british. I tend to walk on the left side away from the traffic, but apparently this is complicated in Switzerland and the women walk on the right side of the man. Up to now I have not been pushed into the street under a moving car, so I suppose it must be safe. I confronted Mr. Swiss with this problem, and he did say that if there is traffic on the road, then a dispense is issued and the woman walks on the left side.

My older son is lefthanded. By the way yesterday was the day to honour lefthanded people, althogh neither he nor I noticed this. He is autistic, and for some unknown reason autistic people tend to be left handed. It is a way of life for No. 1 son and it never really bothered me that when he drew an object it always came from the opposite direction. No. 2 son is also lefthanded, but not quite. He is ambidextrous, meaning equal use of the right and lefthand. This is not easier but even more complicated.

We “normal” righthanders, even lefthanders,  know how to handle our writing, drawing, and even tying shoe laces. The ambidextrous have to think it over and often arrive at a complicated solution, although everything works well eventually. I remember when No. 2 son would draw as a kid. The whole table was covered with varius colured pencils. This was because he neither drew with his right or lefthand, but drew with the hand that was nearest to the pencil colour he wanted. It was a co-ordination of the right and lefthand side of the paper, but he managed to reach a good result.

Every mother has to show her children how to tie the shoe strings. No big problem, one of the proud duties of motherhood. However try to show your ambidextrous offspring how to do it when he is still undecided which hand to apply. This can become a very complicated operation, especially if the school teacher tells you that your son has learning problems. You visit the school psychiatrist to clear things up and the school psychiatrist tells you your son is bored in school, because he can do it all already. Everything he is learning, he can already do it, and there is absolutely no problem. Amibidextrous? The only problem being to know which hand to apply. She made a few tests, which confirmed her results and added if ever my son wanted to he could visit her any time – to relieve the boredom?

I do not think he did visit her as the computer moved in at home in the meanwhile and he was then exploring the possibilities of shooting down aircraft and painting landscapes with a Wizzball. He also won prize of the year in the commecial school, so it seems being ambidextrous is not so bad after all.

When Albert  Einstein discoverd E=mc2 everyone probably thought he  was getting complicated again, and when Stepen Hawkins decided to find out where the black holes originated, people shook their heads. Somewhere on this planet there will be somebody that discovers what a stroke of genius Mrs. Angloswiss has by placing the spoon on the left, and the salad bowl on the right with the fork, to simplify eating the salad with the spaghetti, but she is english and the british have problems with the righthand and lefthand side of life. They even drive on the wrong side of the road.

Daily Prompt: Complicated, a matter of how you look at it

22 thoughts on “Daily Prompt: Complicated – a matter of how you look at it

  1. I was meant to be left handed, but my mom put the kybosh on that because it wasn’t convenient. I can do a lot of things with my left hand, but since the muscles never “learned” a lot of things over the years, it’s pretty awkward. When I take up a new sport, I always attempt it left handed instinctively then someone corrects me. I think being ambidexterous is cool. I never thought of the problems it might cause teaching a kid to tie shoes but yeah, that makes sense. In my recent journey to Switzerland, my friend found the Swiss way very complicated, particularly the bit about weighing vegetables at the store and getting a sticker out of the machine. I wasn’t very helpful because I’d forgotten about that. Here the clerk weighs it and charges the price when you check out. Maybe it’s just that everything new is complicated? And, of course, the Swiss use their knives to eat with and stab their meat with their fork in their left hand. Very strange.

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    • In the old days my mum told me that left handied kids were not tolerated at school and had to learn it the “right” way. And being ambidextrous has it advantages, but my son never really knew whether to learn to play guitar lefthanded or right, but I think he settled for right eventually.

      The bit about weighing the veg, is only if you choose to do-it-yourself at the cash desk. At least at our supermarket it is so and I do not choose to. I cannot be bothered, and I also find another way of causing unemployment with the shop assistants (perhaps a funny idea). The first time I saw the system was a few years ago in London and I did not like it at all.

      Just a minute Martha, I always though it was the american way to eat with just a fork and everyone else in the world ate with a knife and fork, or perhaps chopsticks. Just doing it with a fork sounds very odd to me, even as a Brit. We do not stab the meat, it is already dead. We pick it up with the fork. We did not colonise the states for them to abolish the knife when eating. 🙂

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      • All we do with a knife is cut stuff up and we never stab food; we scoop it up with the fork (which seems kind of silly since it has those sharp pointy things). I could always identify Europeans because they would often hold their knife in the right hand and the fork in the left while they ate. Our custom is left hand in lap, fork in right hand, but when you set the table, the fork goes on the left and the knife edge on the right facing the fork. Personally, I find chopsticks easier to deal with. The only custom there is not to let the points point away from the table because the superstition there is that you will lose your food and go hungry.

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  2. We too drive on the wrong side of the road and also there is a belief, right hand has to be the dominant one as if it is wrong to be left handed. Thank god we do not have much of the confusion with table arrangements. 😛

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    • You are in Asia I believe? I lived with an Indian family for two years and there was not a lot of need for knives and forks. A very good method, not easy, but I got used to it. With everything practice makes perfect, and only eat with the right hand was something I learned.

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  3. To this day, I don’t know what pieces of silverware go on which side. Fortunately, my son knows. And my husband knows more than me. I just put them down and figure anyone eating at my house will find what they need and put it where it does them the most good. Or, they could eat with their fingers. Sometimes, that works for me.

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    • We have a street food festival next week in our town from all over the world according to who lives here, that will be fun I am sure. The rule I always followed when overwhelmed with a choice of cutlery in a restaurant, was start at the outside and work the way inside. What possibly could go wrong. This evening I am just making myself a sandwich, no problem, I eat that in my hand.

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  4. Very interesting post. One of my classes in high school was home economics and we were taught to place the fork on the left side of the plate, the knife on the right…with sharp edge facing the plate, and spoon to the right of the knife. I believe most people are right handed and I often wondered why the fork is always on the left of the plate. I’m right handed and the first thing I do when I began to eat is to pick up the fork that is on the left of the plate, and put it in my Right hand so I can began to eat. Frankly, I have no real concern where people decide to place the eating utensils, but I guess if it is a very formal event it becomes very important to the hostess to be what they consider…correct. Or perhaps, what most people might consider correct. My only concern is that everything be clean! You often see utensils in restaurants that look unwashed, but most of the time it is simply water spots. This is not a main concern, however, if I see food stuck on it, or lipstick…I always request a clean utensil.

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    • Knife on the right, fork on the left, it is just habit with me. What I do with them afterwards depends on what I am eating, and what is comfortable. That was the way I grew up to do it. I just have to be careful about how I put the knives and forks into the dish washer. The points of the knives pointing downwards, otherwise you can get a nasty surprise when you want to remove the cutlery. Eating out is always a risk. I once saw a fly sitting in the pot containing the parmesan and told the waitress to being a new pot. She did, but I am sure she just opened the other pot to let the fly out and put it on someone else’s table. It was a garden restaurant.

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      • I saw that sort of thing in a restaurant one time after a waitress cleared a table, took the uneaten rolls and put them back in the bread drawer ( I could see this from where I was sitting) from then on…I have always torn the bread so it could not be reused if there was some left.

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  5. I teach the ‘proper’ place settings to my seventh graders when we do our manners unit lessons. We always have fun with all teh utensils! What a great idea for ‘confusing’.

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