A Reluctant Tesla Adoption

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This is how I looked on my last day with my Toyota Corolla. I bought it last fall when I decided to go to school in a neighboring town. I usually drive a large family vehicle, so I wanted something with better gas mileage.  In the process of buying that car, it came to my attention that I am married to a man obsessed. I already knew of his great love of all things Jurassic Park. I know and love his homemade R2D2 robot.  His weird affinity for spreadsheets—I knew about that, too. But until I had to argue my way into buying this Toyota, I had no idea that my usually completely reasonable husband had in one small way, gone mad.

What was the source of this madness, you ask? Well, it is only distantly related to dinosaurs.  My husband, like me, loves green energy. We’d both love to be independent of fossil fuels if possible. We have solar on our roof, which he installed himself to make it affordable after extensive research.  In this way, our values align. And yet, I would be happy to wait a few more years until electric cars are not so much “early adopter” vehicles.  Alex, on the other hand, has been, let us say, firm in his belief that our next car had to be an electric car.

I will not go into the gritty details of the extensive conversations we had about the economics of cars over the past year. I will jump to the happy ending.  After Alex finally decided to just reserve a  Cybertruck and wait until they get around to producing the least expensive ones, a Tesla Model 3 finally came down to Alex’s budget point. Last week, a short time before his 40th birthday, he bought a Tesla.  And in the car shuffling process that ensued, I sold my Toyota.

I would drive the Tesla for a few days, because I was just not too sure about it. I wanted Alex to have it all to himself and relish it as much as possible.  Finally he did push me a little to drive it, and I did. Here is what I think.

Teslas are the future.  It flips the normal way I drive on its head, because the second you take your foot off the accelerator, the car slows way down. So instead of hovering that foot over the brake, you have to get used to using acceleration to slow down less dramatically.  The previous owner said it would take just a couple of hours of driving to get used to, and I am sure he was right.

The other big adjustment for me is the keyless thing. The car does have a  card you can use as a key, but otherwise it senses from an app on  your phone when and if you are there , and unlocks and turns on based on proximity. I am still adjusting to the push-button putting it in park.

The blue tooth picked my audio book right up for me, and the sound system is nice and crisp. The car comes with a feature called “Caraoke” which I enjoyed immensely yesterday while we belted out Bohemian Rhapsody and Sweet Caroline. Of all the little techie doodads, that may be my favorite.

One thing I didn’t anticipate was that now that we own a car that was expensive to us, I worry about it more. What if someone damages it? What if it gets in an accident? What if I drive it wrong?  The other night we were looking at a van, and another car pulled over in front of our parked Model 3. The driver and another guy got out and walked around the car, shining their flashlights in the back window.  I was really on edge, worrying that they would do something to the car.  But they eventually just left and got in their own car without touching the car.

When we got back in, Alex showed me something called “Sentinel Mode” which records video whenever anything comes within a certain proximity to the car.  We could see the license plate of the guys’ car, and everything they did. For some reason that helped me worry less.

Overall, I have to say it feels good to know that one of our cars is now powered partially by the sunshine that falls on our roof every day.  I miss my Toyota, and I will probably buy another one before I’m ready to get my own Tesla, but I’m definitely more open to one in my future now that I am making friends with one and still in love with its happy owner.

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A Simple New Years Resolution

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A couple of years ago I resolved on something life-changing. I am so happy I did it. I can’t remember if it was January, but I do remember that it took me a long time to truly change a life long habit.  I was at the Dollar Store the other day, and the cashier expressed his surprise when I pulled out my reusable shopping bags.

“Are you from California?” he asked.

“No,” I said. “I just trained myself to use these. It was really hard to go against the way I was raised,” I joked.

Joking aside, it took more persistence than I expected to change the habit. A couple of things made it possible, so I wanted to share a few of them.

Forgiveness

First I decided that I would take the approach I learned about from a stop smoking program. It said, “If at first you don’t succeed, quit. Quit again.”  I discovered it’s easier for me to do something hard if I allow myself to fail at it over and over before I succeed.  When I started, I left my shopping bags in the back of my car, and I don’t know how many times I walked into the store without them.  I finally figured out that if I mentally associated the produce bags as my warning marker, that helped me cue “plastic bag avoidance.” Since I usually go to the produce section first, I felt less stupid going back out to my car because I hadn’t filled my cart by the time I remembered.  I don’t know how many times I had to make myself turn around and go back out to the car, but after a series of those walks I finally remembered to get the reusable bags before going into the store.

Bags I Liked

I have a dear long-time friend who totally gets me, and one Christmas she gave me several small re-usable IKEA bags, like THESE.*  I loved them instantly. They folded up so small, and they fit right in my purse.  Purse carrying women are really at an advantage in this resolution. (That doesn’t mean men can’t make it happen, of course.) Since those first few bags I have also bought a few more to add to my stash. They are very sturdy, and I haven’t had to throw any of them away yet. I even bought a bunch of sets of constellation ones on Amazon* to do a giveaway for  marketing at my work. The bags were a hit, and we had more entrants than usual in our drawing.

Before I resolved to avoid using single use shopping bags, I used to throw grocery sacks full of wadded up used bags away on a regular basis. I hated doing this every time. Since my efforts to use only reusable bags, I have run out of plastic bags a couple of times. My family is still working on avoiding single use bags, and sometimes I end up forgetting my purse.  Still, Forgiveness, right? Better to try than to do nothing.

External Motivation

Do you ever read the news and just want to give up? I have been reading about the devastation in Australia currently, and the koala situation alone is enough to make me want to take a week off of reading the newsnot because it doesn’t matter, but because I can’t handle it.  Whenever I think about these environmental problems, I ask myself, Can I really do anything about that? I can’t fly to Australia. I’m not a trained firefighter. I can donate money to organizations who can do something, but donation is limited by my need to feed and shelter myself and my children.

When I avoid using plastic bags, I feel like I am DOING something.  At the grocery store today they gave me a 5 cent credit for each bag I used. That incentive would not motivate my five year old to pick up his dirty clothes off of the floor. When I use and reuse my bags, the benefit is intangible. I feel good. I may not be doing everything. But I am doing something. It is very small, but it’s better than nothing.

* These are not affiliate links. I just LOVE reusable shopping bags and want everyone to get some and use them and feel the joy with me.

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