in which I learn of something I cannot do

My mother, Louise, circa 1957. Apparently, archery is genetic.

After the success of our family archery debut in Pacifica, Mr Speed and I took another lesson, an hour long, with a local teacher named James Dean. Mr. Dean has been shooting arrows for 44 years, and his enthusiasm is as fresh and apparent as the depth of his knowledge. He is also funny, and a storyteller, and he kind of reminded me of Dennis Leary. We were both captivated.

We used recurve bows with sights this time, and one of the assessments Mr. Dean made was to determine our dominant eye for the purpose of sighting and aiming. Mine is my right eye, and so, at final aim before loosing the arrow, I was to close my left eye. Except… my left eye will not close independently of my right eye.

Go ahead. Try it. Can you close your left eye while keeping your right eye open? You can? Fine. Well, can you close your right eye while keeping your left eye open? At the same time? You can? Oh, don’t be so innocently smug.

WTF. Somehow, I have gotten along my entire life — until this moment — being able to close only my right eye. What’s more, I didn’t even know that I don’t know how to close my left eye at will. Why this gap in core competency? Where were my parents when I was failing to develop this ability?  What else do I not know I can’t do?!

After offering to smack me in the left eye to close it, Mr. Dean quickly reassured me that I could then sight and shoot with both eyes open… until he determined that, in fact, I was focusing with my left eye. Which I guess goes a long way (finally) in explaining my notorious left/right directional dyslexia. Or something. Anyway, my homework this week is to learn how to close my left eye and at the same time keep my right eye open.

Though I am an old dog, I can learn new tricks. I will make up for my obviously impoverished and deficient childhood, which is when I assume regular people learned this stuff. (Let it be known, however, that I can do the “live long and prosper” sign. On both hands.)

And we’ll be back at the archery range next Friday, for our new date night. I cannot wait.

2 thoughts on “in which I learn of something I cannot do

  1. Willow Rodriguez says:


    And solely for the purposes of assuring you that I have not had an ‘impoverished and deficient childhood’, I’ll have you know that I can close my left eye and leave my right one open. And vise versa.

    Question: can you wink?

  2. nancyenge says:

    I can totally wink by closing my right eye. Apparently, this is not quite good enough, as *some* people feel the need to over-achieve by being able to wink both eyes. I place the blame for my inability to do so solely and conveniently on my parents, or my brothers.

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