righty-tighty, lefty-loosey

Thursday, August 16: On our way home from Fallingwater this afternoon, the boys, who came to visit me in Oman in January, remind me jokingly that here in America, we don’t have attendants to fill up our gas tanks like I do in Oman.  They comment that I’m quite spoiled by this, and I agree, I am!

our Toyota Sienna parked at Deep Creek Lake

When they say this, I remember something that happened when I went to visit my daughter in Richmond.   I tell them this story, laughing at how ridiculous it is.  And at how ridiculous I can be sometimes….

I went to the gas station in my 1997 Toyota Camry, a car I have been driving for well over 10 years, and I got out of the car to fill up the tank.  I started turning the gas cap to the right and it wouldn’t come off!!  It just kept making this clickety-grating sound as I turned it round and round, but it was stuck firmly in place.  I started to panic.  We were practically driving on fumes as it was, and I was afraid it was permanently stuck and we wouldn’t be able to get gas!!

my 1997 Toyota Camry ~ shouldn’t I know by now how to get the gas cap off?

Sarah was sitting in the passenger seat and she yelled out, “What’s going on, Mom?”

I said, “I can’t get the gas cap off!  It’s stuck!  I don’t know what’s wrong!!”

Maybe she heard the panic in my voice.  Maybe she thought I had become somewhat daft in my years living abroad.  Either way, she hopped out of the car and promptly grabbed the gas cap and turned it to the left, the opposite direction from which I was turning it, and it came right off!

Miracle of miracles!  I am so out of practice with filling up my own gas tank, I didn’t even know the right direction to twist off the cap.

I have never had to fill up the gas tank of my GMC Terrain in Oman myself!

I tell my boys & Mike this story as we are driving home this afternoon, and Adam pipes up: “Righty-tighty, lefty-loosey!  Don’t you know that?”

I look like a deer in headlights.  I’m searching the deep (and very dark) recesses of my brain, but honestly, I have never heard this before.  The boys are shocked.  “How could you have never heard this?” they ask.  I ask Mike if he has heard it, thinking maybe this is a generational thing, some secret to the universe to which only the younger generation has access.  Mike says, yes, he’s heard it before, somewhere along the way.

I wonder how on earth I have managed to survive all these years without being armed with this simple bit of folk wisdom!!

jars, cars & other containers: “righty-tighty, lefty-loosey!”
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9 thoughts on “righty-tighty, lefty-loosey

  1. In Oregon we have attendants to fill our gas tanks. It’s illegal to fill your own.
    I had never heard “righty-tighty” either, but it’s a handy tool.

  2. Hehe I also grew up eith lefty-loosy-righty-tighty. The problem is, I suck at left/right anywhere,

    Here is SA we also have pump attendants but I think they call it job creation?

    1. I’m the same, Marco. I always am getting right and left confused. It’s just so weird to me, and unobservant and oblivious, that I never in my life knew that all jars and caps are turned the same way to loosen or tighten!! Why wouldn’t they all be different? Is there some rule for all cap makers that they have to turn left to loosen? I just always figured each time you went to turn a cap, it was random whether you turned it right or left!! Or possibly I just never gave it any thought at all!

      Yes, in Oman I think the attendants are there because it’s too much dirty work for Omanis, who would prefer to sit in their air-conditioned cars and be waited on!

      1. HAHA let them serve you and treat you like royalty, right?

        I never got the cap thing either – someone must get a kick from watching other people squirm. I used to have a mark on my left hand, but as years went by they mark went away. At first it was yay! Then the truth hit me – now what.

      2. That is sooo hilarious about the mark on your hand. I have a raised mole on in the middle of my left hand too, I have always counted on it to tell left from right. Even in the dark, I touch the back of my hands to figure out which is which. Lately the color has changed to blend in with the skin on my hand, so now I can really tell most by feel! Haha… 😀

      3. What happens when the mole wears down?
        A marker pen works very well but mostly when I try to explain left/right to someone I have to check which hand I write with by air writing. I have the same problem when it comes to reading clocks with “hands” I get the hour and minute hands mixed up – not amusing.

      4. I have no idea, Marco! So funny about the hour and minute hands on the clock! I do the air writing thing too. I wonder how many people have trouble with right and left??

      5. More than would admit it! They’re all around us – some are more sneaky than others though. Just admit it and everything will be fine! But deny it and we catch you out, where did you leave the tar and feathers?

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