I discovered that my wife liked to play with one of her brother’s toy cars. It was the one that steered.

I had one of those too. A white police 3.8 Jag. The front wheels were sprung, and if you pressed the car down on the right it steered to the right, press left, steer to the left. This was a revelation in the world of Dinky toy cars which had to be dragged sideways to go round any reasonably sharp corner. Now you could make a road and follow it truthfully, the car responding to light pressure. You could even park it by reverse parking, practising how you needed to line up alongside the car in front and reverse at the right angle to slide into the parking slot in one go. You could adjust the size of the parking slot and discover how small a space you could squeeze into.

That my wife enjoyed controlling these cars as much as I did tells you something about the delight that comes from mastery of a bit of your world. Here is the desire to do it properly, carefully and get it right. Which pervaded my future life even when haste and not learning properly how to do it have produced inferior results.


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