Last night in the car Clara was talking about how excited she is to some day be old enough to drive. I found this idea quite frightening, but I decided to play along. So, after telling her that she would need longer legs first, I explained to her about the gas and brake pedals and how she would have to push them with her foot. After a few moments of pretending to push pedals in the back seat like I had explained, she reacted with a gasp and a flash of insight. Instead of pushing both pedals with her right foot she could push the brake with her left and then the gas with her right.
“No. You don’t want to push the gas and the brake at the same time. Only use one foot for both pedals.” I told her in the rear view mirror.
“But then what will my left foot do? It has to push something too.”
“No, it doesn’t. Your left foot can just sit there. Don’t worry about your left foot. Focus on the road, and only push the pedals with your right foot.”
After a moment of silence I glanced over my shoulder and noticed she was still pushing with both of her feet.
“No no.” I said, “Stop pretending to push the brake with your left foot. Only this foot. Not this foot. You are going to make me wreck my car.”
“But it doesn’t make sense that there are two buttons and I have to push them with only one foot!”
This debate continued for the rest of the drive back to our house at which point the two of us agreed to a stalemate. “Okay,” I told her, “We will continue this discussion in ten years, and I am already not looking forward to it.” She agreed. But she wandered off mumbling something about having two feet and two pedals.