You can change them. Into higher. Into lower. Gear.
When my father learned how to drive I was at that age when I knew everything. When I was wondering how everybody else around me didn’t see, like I did, the obvious. Like my father. It was obvious that when you wanted to drive faster, you had to change into a higher gear. And there we were. Going up that hill on the way to my grandparents’ village. And the car nearly stopped. My father had his right foot firmly down on the gas pedal, pushing it as hard as he could into the floor of that dark green Volkswagen Beatle. I was shouting at him to change into a higher gear, so that we’d go up that hill faster, so that he wouldn’t get the car to a halt. He had put the car already into highest gear, for some stupid reason being convinced for a minute that I really did know it all.
Until he relaxed and did what was right. He ignored his know-it-all son. Stopped the car. And slowly brought the car up that steep hill in first gear.
I pretended to be asleep for the rest of the journey. Of course, I didn’t admit to my stupidity. I didn’t say sorry for having been so horrible. But I had learned my lesson.
If you want to get up a steep hill, stay in a lower gear and move slowly. Until you’re getting over the hill. That is when you change into a higher gear and gain speed.
Why do I remember this today?
Because Pádraig had been going in gear 0, then in gear 1 on his MOTOMed most of the time. He had managed gear 2 for a few minutes. But today, we thought we had mixed up the gears because he was flying. In second gear. For a long time. That’s when we thought it was time to move up to third. To gain some speed.