For The Long Haul

Mus­ings are thoughts, the thought­ful kind. For the pur­pose of these ar­ti­cles, a-mus­ings are thoughts that might amuse, en­ter­tain and even en­lighten.

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Michael Walker

If there is any­thing good about long-haul flights it’s the chance of catch­ing up with your read­ing un­less, of course, you have a chatty seat­mate who just won’t stop talk­ing for 14 hours no mat­ter how hard you try to dis­cour­age him. I mean, just the thought of hear­ing about his rel­a­tives, jobs, failed am­bi­tions, sex life and stamp col­lec­tion makes me shud­der. And if per­chance I am ever care­less enough to let slip that I have made my liv­ing through writ­ing, well, I sud­denly find I am ei­ther sit­ting next to the new James Joyce or some­one who has failed to write a sin­gle word of the earth-shat­ter­ing novel he has in­side him.

But back to the read­ing: I am not a car fa­natic. Yes, I’ve owned my fair share of Volvos and Mercedes in my time, but when it fi­nally hit me that I was us­ing the back seat of the vo­lu­mi­nous Mercedes as a means of trans­port­ing hay for my daugh­ter’s horse, I gave them up and bought some­thing more re­al­is­tic – so re­al­is­tic I can’t re­mem­ber what it was.

So cars have re­mained a means of trans­port­ing oth­ers and me from Point A to Point B as smoothly and com­fort­ably as pos­si­ble. Well, that state­ment would have been true up to a cou­ple of days ago when I met Tesla, the per­fect woman.

Tesla, ac­cord­ing to Newsweek, is I learned (thank the lord for long-haul flights in Up­per Class that has par­ti­tions be­tween you and your neigh­bours) a most gor­geous crea­ture that when­ever “you put your foot down, no kick for­ward. It’s the quiet that gets you.”

“Tesla, where have you been all my life?” I wanted to shout as the writ­ing on page 73 in Newsweek got hot­ter and hot­ter. “It’s like be­ing in a shark that has flicked its tail un­der wa­ter and is sud­denly mov­ing very much faster.” I glanced furtively around the cabin. This was hot stuff. Tesla “was sud­denly, sound­lessly, mov­ing very much faster.” I sum­moned the flight at­ten­dant and or­dered a drink just to watch her cute red-clad tail as she swished up the aisle to ful­fill my wishes. Well, I would have en­joyed watch­ing her walk up the aisle ex­cept it turned out the flight at­ten­dant was a male; still, he swished his tail very pro­fi­ciently.

One thing I re­ally liked about Tesla was that “there was no roar.” I do hate women who scream and shout; moan­ing and groan­ing is bad enough but shout­ing and scream­ing is sim­ply off-putting, I think.

Even­tu­ally, of course, my be­fud­dled brain be­gan to re­al­ize that Tesla was rather short on en­durance; she could only man­age 400 km with­out a recharge, and even less range if she went at it not even full speed, but at a mere 140 kph.

Equally dis­ap­point­ing was the fact that Tesla’s main drive was housed in two big bat­ter­ies un­der her seats – not very sexy, though the Newsweek writer seemed agog at her other at­trac­tions. Tesla, for ex­am­ple, turned on the wipers au­to­mat­i­cally when it rained, sav­ing the driver the time-con­sum­ing and ar­du­ous task of do­ing it him­self. When Tesla en­tered a tun­nel she switched her lights on, though this was a bit doubt­ful and sev­eral coun­tries now de­mand that cars should al­ways drive with their lights on. On cruise con­trol, Tesla slowed down as she ap­proached another ve­hi­cle; when the driver pulls out, she speeds up; when the driver drifts over the line into another lane, steps out of line in other words, Tesla, like any spouse, grum­bles un­til the driver re­turns to the straight and nar­row.

Tesla is no cheap broad; she costs about 110,000 Eu­ros in Europe, but what such a beauty would cost in St Lu­cia is al­most unimag­in­able – prob­a­bly three times the price at least. Tesla makes you face a clear choice be­tween speed and dis­tance; in fact it might not be long be­fore Com­mon En­trance Ex­ams fea­ture such rel­e­vant ques­tions. The stated range is 400 km at 120kph, but much shorter at 140 kph. How­ever, driv­ers will not be asked to do com­pli­cated men­tal arith­metic in their heads be­cause Tesla, like any good woman, knows when her driver needs to slow down. If her bat­ter­ies are run­ning low she sim­ply de­clares, “if you don’t slow down, you won’t get to your des­ti­na­tion.” How sweet! It seems that Tesla is pro­grammed to know where the near­est re-charg­ing sta­tion is – quite fan­tas­tic.

Well, I must have fallen asleep round about this point be­cause the next thing I knew was that we were land­ing. My son met me out­side the air­port ter­mi­nal. He had watched us land on his cell­phone via Fligh­tradar 24 and checked the sta­tus in Cus­toms where there were no de­lays, so he sim­ply sat in his new Tesla and waited, hop­ing to sur­prise me. As we drove silently off, I could see him glanc­ing at me, but I didn’t say a word; Tesla and I were old friends.

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