Sunday, 29 March 2009

Southpaw friendly doors

First of all Happy Ugadi to one and all and wish you a prosperous new year. The above photo is a random Google image of a disabled friendly sidewalk and I probably am violating a million copyrights by putting it up. If there was one thing that I really appreciated in the city of angels (Los Angeles, I was there last week. Awesome fun, a little disappointment, Great learning experience. I shall also claim that as the excuse for not posting for well over two weeks) it was the sidewalks. In a city full of big cars zooming around the care with which the city treats the pedestrians is amazing. Make no mistake it is a terrible inconvenience to not have a vehicle of some sort. However, should you choose to walk, you will notice that the footpaths everywhere are absolutely flat and smooth and where they meet the zebra crossings or street corners, they are gently sloped so as to let wheelchairs or baby strollers get around without any hassle. Though of course this also meant that there were a lot of people on roller skates and skateboards taking advantage of this, it definitely is a necessary improvement that the powers who maintain our cities need to keep in mind.

All the other people who abroad for a short while keep whining about things here and how they compare unfavorably with their equivalents in whatever developed country they went to. However even with relation to the one aspect I respected most about LA, I cannot but mark my hostel higher. My hostel isn't disabled friendly at all (not just the infrastructure, the insensitive denizens of this place laugh shamelessly and heartily when I crack inappropriate jokes about differently abled people). Why I rate it higher though is better explained with a photo of the door in one of the bathrooms.

This door, ladies and gentlemen is a left handed friendly. Normally all doors have the latch to the right and you open it by pulling the latch to the left. Never noticed, you're probably right handed then. Ask your southpaw friends and they will tell you of the trials and tribulations of their everyday activities (not necessary, they're used to it mostly) Though there are a lot of businesses that make a killing selling things customized for lefties (here, here and here for example) almost all public places are designed for right handed people. The builders of my hostel were careful not to disregard the needs of 8-15 % of the population (Statistics from wiki).

One small problem though. What is good for the left handers is a pain for the more prevalent right handers. Especially in the rainy season when the door jams and we people grunt and sweat quite a bit trying to latch door and then settle for the fragile privacy offered by a bucket which keeps the door shut (almost) by the weight of the water it is filled with. Apart from one incident in my first year, I don't recollect anyone walking in on someone who had taken the refuge of such an arrangement.


Meanderings and Reflections said...

It is said that Leonardo da Vinci used both his hands. It would be good to try and used both the hands. I follow that. Highly recommended! Try brushing and combing with your left hand for a change. Nothing is impossible. Also read up on left handedness in the net - you will certainly dig up intersting facts about how society viewed them in those days!

vikramhegde said...

:) I am ambidextrous too. I'm equally clumsy with both hands. Or should that be ambiclumsy?

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