Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Wick Fisher
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

The learning curve

Wick's World


August 23, 2018

It’s been nearly a month since we bought our Tesla. I can count on one hand the number of times I have driven it. I still have five fingers and I think I have been behind the wheel four times. This is not because this is my wife’s car. I asked her to take the car to work for the first two weeks so she could learn the technology behind this all-electric road wonder. Then while I was learning to drive it, she could bark out the orders; kind of like a marriage.

In reality, according to her way of thinking, we bought a Tesla so she would feel safe riding with me. According to my way of thinking, we bought a Tesla so I would feel safe riding with her. I tend to have a difficulty staying in my own lane. Some people call it drunk driving; but I don’t drink. She tends to have a difficulty keeping from driving over the top the car in front of her. Some people call it tailgating.

The auto pilot features of the Tesla have now made us both better drivers. I no longer drift; she no longer tailgates. Getting behind the wheel of a Tesla while it is on autopilot does not mean it is a self-driving car. I guess it could be used as one if you are a complete idiot with a death wish.

After adding $25,000 in accessories, our Tesla now has the auto pilot feature that has made us the safest and quietest drivers on the block. Also we added fancy chrome wheels and a three-coat paint job that is as blue as the ocean is deep. A larger than normal size battery gives us a driving range of 310 miles. That’s enough to get us back home to South Dakota; or at least to my wife’s hometown of Sioux Falls where we find ourselves frequently returning.

Yesterday was my turn for the learning curve. It was the day we put aside for me to learn how to drive the world’s safest, easiest car.

At the showroom, my parting words to the salesman were, “I feel like I just bought the world’s safest car and I’m scared to death to drive it.”

“Oh, we hear that a lot,” he replied. “Don’t worry. You’ll love it.”

He was right about that because I discovered that the Tesla was very easy to learn most of the features one needed to drive a car. Here’s the deal. If you think owning a cell phone is technologically beyond your grasp, don’t buy a Tesla. Learning to drive a Tesla left me with the same feeling I had about learning to use a computer. The fear factor was way higher than it should have been.

On my first day of retirement, I was ready to join the technological world. I was now going to work from home, or if I bought a laptop, I could even work from anywhere in the world. Maybe on a sailboat in the Caribbean or docked in Hong Kong Harbor. I’d learn to sail after I learned the computer.

The previous night, my wife had shown me a few things that would get me started. The next morning, the big problem was this. I couldn’t get the darn thing to do anything. I could not remember any of the first steps she had shown me. After hitting many combinations of every button on the keyboard, I still found myself staring at a blank screen.

“There goes all the businesses I was excited to start,” I thought to myself.

Finally in frustration, I called my wife at her work. She shared her office with several co-workers so this would not to be a private conversation.

“Karen, I’ve been at this for a half hour and I can’t get this thing to go. I still have a black screen!”

After several minutes of “Did you do this and did you do that?” and with the office listening in, she finally said the key words, “Did you turn it on?”

“You have to turn it on?” I exclaimed!

Even if we weren’t connected by telephone, I would have heard the roar of laughter coming from her workplace. Meanwhile, driving a Tesla is much easier than learning a computer. You don’t even have to turn them on. You just get in and go. Really.


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