Call me gullible, I bought a new Tesla, only the name was spelled T-E-Z-L-A.
The first thing I noticed was the signal light. I wanted to change lanes so I flipped the lever for the signal and the whole dashboard dimmed out. It was a lot like when you’re in your house during a rain storm and the lights flicker almost all the way off but not quite. There’s that moment of pause, no matter what you’re doing, when you look at the nearest light to you and for that split moment wonder, “Is the power going out?” Then the lights come back on and your brain decides, “Nope.”
I went through that whole routine, except I did it while driving. As soon as I was in the other lane, I flipped the blinker off and the dash lights came back on, so the whole thing lasted maybe a second. No big deal, I figured.
I was wrong.
The next time I noticed trouble with that fancy new electric car was when I tried to run the radio. Oh, the radio worked fine, but while it was turned on the car wouldn’t—couldn’t—go over 40 miles per hour. Like any smart monkey, I didn’t turn the radio off, I just smashed the pedal down to the floor harder. For some reason, pressing harder didn’t actually make the car go faster.
During the same trip, while I was getting yelled at by other drivers for going only 40 on the highway, I tried to signal a lane change with the radio on and the go pedal pressed down to the floor as hard as possible. The battery-level readout blinked off quickly and came back with the words: Never Surrender.
I’m still not sure if that was a message for me, or if the car was declaring its determination.
Either way, I decided then and there to give the car back to the dealership. When I got to a safe place, I pulled off the road and made some phone calls. These were unhappy customer complaint type phone calls. It ate up a lot of my precious time, but I finally got someone in the company to take me seriously. They agreed to check the car for defects with one condition: I had to bring it to them.
It was almost night. This was going to be a problem.
What I did next was neither safe or sane. I turned off every peripheral electronic function of the electric car so it wouldn’t waste energy. Then I threw out some of the dead weight as if I was in a ship on the ocean, sinking. I threw out the cup holders and the carpeting, the ashtray and the airbags, the rearview mirror and the back seat. There were big empty spaces everywhere when I was done. Once I was convinced everything unnecessary was out of the vehicle, I drove like a nitro racer back to the dealership.
Driving at night with the lights off and no radio, I got back there in under 5 minutes. I won’t tell you how fast I was going. I knew the car would never go that fast if the lights were lit.
It doesn’t need to be said, but I’ll say it anyway: I left that car there and I never went back.