I now love to drive

Teller, October 14, 2015

I've always looked askance at people who said they loved to drive or loved their cars. A car – I thought – was a nice, useful machine, but about as lovable as a dishwasher. I defined a good car as one that took care of the chore of transportation without breaking down.

My parents raised me on sensible vehicles. A black Studebaker. A turquoise Plymouth. A Ford Ranchwagon, with one token touch of romance: it had cattle brands on the upholstery (I loved running my fingers over those).

My mother's best friend, who was rich, had a little luxury MG that my father dismissed with, "Little cars. Little minds."

So when I came of age, I bought practical cars. Minibuses. Minivans. Boxy SUVs. My sole guide in buying was: Which car has enough room for the groceries and requires the least service according to Consumer Reports?

Last year my Mac guy bought a Tesla. He told me about its ingenious (and practical) design. The modernity intrigued me.

So one afternoon – with 45 minutes to spare before a rehearsal – I swung by a Tesla showroom and looked over a Model S. It was, as I had anticipated, brainy and practical. So doing due diligence, I took a test drive.

It was like piloting a big, stealthy cat. The combination of muscle and silence enchanted me (as you may know, I'm partial to silence). The movement was not just efficient, but thrilling, a velvety-smooth, noiseless roller-coaster. Still my parents' son, I dutifully went and read the reliability reports. Two weeks later, I placed my order.

A year later my first impressions have only deepened. The intelligence, power, and severe beauty of this machine are no hype.

I check on traffic on the big screen without having to squint at my phone. I charge the car at home while I sleep – no more being late for rehearsals because I had to stop for gas. The car's software updates itself automatically in the wee hours of the morning, so that I'm always driving the latest model.

My friends (and their children) ask me for rides, just for the fun of it, and parking valets welcome me with a slight, but noticeable, bow. And I believe I'm now a much better driver. Of course, that's partly because the Tesla has so many safety features and is so powerful and responsive. But it's more than that.

It's because I'm paying attention to every moment I'm on the road. Why? Because I now love to drive.

- Teller

Tags: Model S