June 28, 2011

Does the Way I Hang Out My Washing Have Something to do With the Way I Read?

I've heard it said that we are creatures of habit. Each of us has specific ways that we dress and undress, and many of us have unconscious habits and rituals in many of our everyday activities. If you've never thought about it before, make a note of which leg you put into your underwear after you shower, and then try switching it around (ie, which leg you put in first, not turn your undies around the wrong way). When we try to change these comfortable old habits, it feels weird.
Many of us have simple rituals for brushing our teeth, washing and brushing our hair and specifically eating. These everyday habits have become so routine that we rarely consider each individual step of the process. For each of us, the passage of childhood was the training ground for these ingrained habits, and they are perfectly normal. It's only when we injure ourselves and are no longer able to perform in the usual way, or if we consciously watch our actions that we really become aware that we have ritualised each of them.

Today, as I was hanging out my washing, I paused for a moment when I realised that I had even developed an unconscious habit with this chore: I noticed that I commence hanging the items from the left-hand side of the clothesline and work my way towards the right. "Is it because I'm right-handed?" I wondered. 

It then set my thoughts off in all directions, "Is this common in our western society and is it linked to our reading from left to right? Am I once again, reading far too much into such a simple thing?"

The crazy thing is, I'm sure a psychology student could probably come up with a very good thesis based on this theme and gain their PhD. Actually I often come up with the wackiest ideas for PhD psychology students wanting an idea for their thesis. Perhaps there's a market for wacky ideas?

What are your thoughts? Do you have a ritual with hanging out your washing? Are you as obsessive compulsive as some people who feel the need to match the colour of their clothes-pegs? 

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