Tag Archives: driving

Matters of Custom and Convenience

Brake and Gas Pedal

I have to confess to a dirty little secret. Here it is: when I’m driving something with an automatic shift, I use my left foot to brake. Right foot goes on the gas pedal, of course. I think my dad taught me this way. My brother does the same thing. I don’t remember how my mom drove.

Of course, with a manual shift, I use my left foot for the clutch. So, with an automatic, it’s free for braking duties. The Car Talk guys allowed one time that left-foot braking allows the driver to brake more quickly, as long as said driver does not ride the brake. I don’t and never have.

Recently, though, I’ve wondered how hard it would be to switch the foot I brake with. So, I’ve been trying and it really feels strange. Of course, I’m working with a fifty-year-old habit here, so I’ll just have to see. I’ll let you know how it goes. Stay tuned!

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Friday Poem of the Week: Efficiency vs. Beauty and Grace


Efficiency vs. Beauty and Grace

Having left a car for my aunt to use
At the assisted living place where my Dad lives
While she visits him
I walk home, a distance of about half a mile
In the bright spring sunshine,
Wondering why I don’t walk more.
I see things I don’t see when I drive
But, darn it, I have places to go and
People to see and don’t have the time
To walk everywhere and so I don’t.

But I should.

I remember my grandmother talking about
Walking to see people a distance of eight miles
One way. That would take five hours total,
Visiting time not included.
Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy walked
Twenty miles in a day just for a lark
Or a daffodil or a beautiful spring lea.

I am such a weakling, insulated from nature
Most of the time, moving from heated space
To heated space or air conditioning to air conditioning.

I am missing out on so much Beauty and Grace
In the name of cold Efficiency.

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