On September 29, 2015, I watched the online unveiling of the Tesla Model X, Elon Musk’s all-electric SUV. It was love at first sight. The following day, September 30, I posted on Facebook that this would be my next vehicle. With a price of $160,000 I knew it might be a while, but I was going to drive my 2004 GMC Envoy into the ground if I had to while waiting.
The last few years featured an extremely volatile financial situation for me and last September I had to finally get rid of my 13-year-old Envoy. I downsized tremendously to a Honda HR-V. An excellent vehicle, but no Tesla. The other day Honda even sent me an anniversary card for my first year with the HR-V. They are so cute.
It took me three months before I stopped banging my head getting in the Honda and actually like the car, but I still dreamed of that Tesla X on my vision board (Yes, I have a vision board. I’ve made them for a good eight years, and the vast majority of things I put on them come to pass).
It was only in the last year that I’ve even seen a Tesla X in person. On my birthday this year, I saw two. I thought, “It’s getting closer!”
Last weekend I visited the Tesla dealer in Natick, Massachusetts so I could get a picture of myself in one. That was honestly my only goal. One of the reps asked if I was in the market to buy. I told him, “I’ve wanted it to be my next car for a few years, but 160K is beyond me.” He said you can get in one for half of that. My jaw dropped, and I thought, I could actually afford this.
Across the showroom floor, my wife, Lori, was chatting with another rep while she was looking at the Model S and Model 3 sedans. She pointed to me saying my husband is over there at the X, but he’s just looking. The rep told her the price, and she responded, “Oh! Then he’s getting one.”
We agreed a test drive was the next step and would happen six days later. I went home totally psyched, but over the next few days, I was riddled with doubts and fears. What if I buy this and lose my job? What if I never work again? Even though I can afford it, should I spend more than twice as much as I ever have on a new car? Do I need a Tesla X? Does anyone need a Tesla X? Is wanting something a good enough reason to buy it? Will I be a hipster doofus?
Every limiting belief about my worth and value was right in my face. Each day I went from being excited, and sure I would buy it, to thinking I was a stupid, selfish bastard for merely considering it. I finally calmed myself by realizing I still haven’t even driven one. Maybe I won’t even like a Tesla after all this hype?
The Test Drive
On Friday, August 10, 2018, I drove a Tesla for the first time. I found it to be so different, so unique that saying I test drove a car is an incredible understatement. We spent a good twenty minutes marveling at all the ways I could open the doors. I played with the “summon” feature where the X drives itself a few feet, forward or backward, to meet you. The Tesla is silent when running, has no exhaust, has nothing hanging from the undercarriage. It felt like a toy, video game, and virtual reality experience all wrapped up into a Metallica cranking ball of fun.
The first touch of the gas pedal was unlike any other time, oh yeah, because it isn’t a gas pedal. You are immediately accelerating when you give the magic foot pedal any pressure. It’s like a golf cart that can go 150 miles per hour. And there is no transmission, no gears to cycle through, so you accelerate like a rocket. When you take your foot off the gas—my brain needs to learn new terms—accelerator, the vehicle immediately slows down.
The autopilot features felt so bizarre and took me a lot of effort to trust. Going down a crowded Route 9 on a Friday afternoon, I engaged autopilot with a tap of a finger, and I had a shudder up my spine as I felt something else take control of the steering wheel. I was told to let go of the wheel and rest my feet on the floor. What!??! I slowly lifted my hands up and turned to my wife in the back seat. “What the fuck? I feel like I’m home playing with X box not driving one.”
The car, magic chariot, spaceship… I don’t know what to call it slightly weaved left and right striving to be in the center line. It accelerated and slowed with traffic. It got a little too close to a guy on a bicycle, but I didn’t touch the wheel. I figured the Tesla guy would yell if something weren’t working, but I had to fight every instinct to not grab the wheel and take control. When the road cleared, he told me to floor it. I did. It was fun. A lot of fun. And fast.
At that moment, Metallica’s Wherever I May Roam started playing. Lyrics from that song are tattooed on my left calf. That is when I no longer had any doubt I was about to buy a Tesla X.
Lori got her turn to drive and had no interest in trying the autopilot. She finally yielded but couldn’t trust it and only lasted a couple of minutes, but she loved the X too. She drove back to the garage and let the X park itself.
I infamously once drove into Boston for an appointment, could only find parallel parking on the street available, which I suck at and couldn’t do. So I drove home in shame. Thanks to Elon Musk, those days are over!
So now my dream car is scheduled for delivery right around September 30, the three-year mark from when I stated I would own one, and I get to take another item down off my vision board (did I mention they work?). Not only am I getting my dream vehicle, but it also enabled me to blast through so many doubts and limitations I still had about myself.
The Tesla X is frickin’ AWESOME! And I’m not doing too bad either.
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