About a month ago, on a bright Friday afternoon, my colleagues and I few into Los Angeles International Airport. We were in town for five days before flying off to Chicago, then to New York City, and at last to Miami.
We were travelling as part of a roadshow and so we all knew we had too little time in each city to do much sightseeing. Thanking the weekends we’d spend in Pasadena and New York City, we left the airport eager to check in at the hotel and check out the city.
As I looked about, trying to find our ride, my eyes fell on a gorgeous Tesla. My jaw dropped. I had no idea when (if at all) I’d ever see a Tesla back home, and my instinct forced me to pull out my camera phone. It was a green, sleek, and slender machine cruising its way through a buzz of busy vehicles trying to pick up travellers and get out of the airport.
For a while I remained stunned, surprised to see such grandeur as part of everyday lifestyle. But soon enough, I saw another one—a white this time—in the same pickup area.
A Tesla is as any other car, I realised. Sure, it’s expensive and elite and makes people gawk with jealousy, but at the end of the day, it’s just another car. It surprised me that there were so many people who could afford Teslas and drive it around town like a casual Toyota.
As we drove through the city, I saw more Teslas and other fancy cars, their drivers wearing a seat belt, focussing on the road—like all other drivers driving smaller cars. But of course, even the smaller and casual cars were far fancier and pricier than anything I’d seen.
And it dawned on me a few minutes later. California is one the richest states in the US. With Hollywood and Silicon Valley just a few miles away, Teslas on the street were an average thing for LA folk.
The cars were the first thing I saw and they served me a pretty large slice of what life’s like in Los Angeles. It was amazing to me that while halfway across the world people struggled to sustain each day, people here basked in others’ jealously with reckless abandon.
It was just the beginning. I had a lot more to see.