I’ve been reading about a variety of things, as usual — as I always do. But part of my reading is looking for new things to entertain myself during the cold snap, which is one for the history books.
It’s normal for Chicago to be cold at the end of January, but this is taking it a bit far, even for me.
I’m following all the stories and p0sts about the cold and noticing the different uses of “normal” and “usual.”
I’ve also been reading about left-handedness, thanks to the good folks at Anything Left-Handed (www.anythinglefthanded.co.uk), who provide a document called “6 Things You Really Should Know if You are Left-handed.”
It got me thinking about who to share the document with. It’s well worth sharing. But I can’t tell that easily. It brings me back to the distinction between “normal” and “usual.” I don’t notice a person’s handedness straightaway because when I see someone doing anything left-handed, it looks normal… it looks correct, the way I would do it, the way that’s comfortable. But when I see someone doing something right-handed, it looks usual… there are so many right-handers that it’s a common sight, something I, er, usually see. It may look thoroughly backwards — it probably does — but when I see it dozens of times a day, it stops looking quite so bad.
So sometimes, normal is usual — but we need both words for the times, like noticing handedness, when it isn’t.
It’s a small distinction, but a valuable one.
Margaret Serious has a page on Facebook.
Here’s what you’ll usually see if you’re normally here: Type your e-mail address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam-free, and you can opt out at any time.