Day 1: A curious instinct with a light switch

tags:: post
series:: advent-of-writing-2022
date:: Dec 1st, 2022

This is part of a series where I post every day for 24 days. See Advent of Writing: 24 days of posts.

On the 1st day, I thought about a light switch in our bedroom.

We moved into a new house 6 months ago. In our bedroom, there’s a light switch outside the door to the bathroom. This switch is driving me mad, and I have no idea why.


When I leave the bathroom, I turn off the switch. Every single time I reach to the wrong side. My hand slides down the wall to the left instinctively and reaches nothing. When my mind catches up, I know exactly where it is. But my instinct betrays me.

Here’s the thing: it happens to my wife too. She instinctively reaches to the left, the wrong side of the wall.

One day one of us joked about it, and we realized we both did the same thing. Now I wonder if we’ve all been programmed this way. I almost want to make other people use our bathroom and see what they do.

Why do we both do this? Is there building code that specifies which side the switch goes on, so all my life I reach to the left, and this switch is on the wrong side? The door to leave to room is to the left; is there building code that says switches should be towards the door?

It just feels wrong to reach to the other side, and that’s amazing to me. What happened deep down inside of me to make that feel wrong? And my wife feels the same!

Makes me wonder what other biases exist inside my subconscious.