Just don’t get beat…

Photo Credit: Maienga Photography


Several years ago, I was meeting with a producer that I’d known since leasing him an EV1 about a decade before. I was talking quickly, catching him up on the EV world in the time he had between meetings. The EV1 vigil had just ended, and not how we’d hoped– but we’d picked ourselves up and were about to take on Toyota and save the RAV4 EVs.  “Who Killed the Electric Car?” was in the works, though it was too soon for any of us to know if it would ever see the light of day. Meanwhile, I’d signed on as the first (and during my stint, only) employee of the Automotive X PRIZE, and was deeply but enthusiastically absorbed in trying to make something meaningful out of it.

Abruptly, he interrupted my ramble. “You know, you’re my hero.” Confused, I looked back at the guy with several blockbuster films under his belt, wondering in what universe he’d be impressed with anything I’d done. The eyebrow that always betrays my attempted poker face crept upward in the pause…

“You just don’t get beat.”

Oh, he’d seen me “lose” repeatedly over the years, each time after throwing myself irretrievably into the effort. But giving up – even when I should – isn’t something I do very well. Too stubborn to burn out for good, I kept coming back to the general mission from a slightly new angle, always with the same lack of temperance. But what I’d understood to be a character flaw apparently looked more like moxie to him. And while I’m sure the remark slipped his mind before I was out to my car, it burrowed into mine.

Like anyone else, I accomplish more on some days than others. Never as much as I think I should; as a result, the only thing I’m an overachiever at is insomnia. Often, “not getting beat” is all I have to show for myself, an acknowledgement that seems composed of equal parts concession and confession.

I’ve been mulling all of this since Michelle Naranjo posted her story about joining the Rallye Aicha des Gazelles. I’d watched her become passionate about this race and the women who participate in it for a year or so; recently, she decided to jump in as a competitor only to have the whole thing go indescribably awry in a mess of convoluted stories and broken trust. This chapter isn’t ending as she’d hoped, but there will be another because she refused to be beat by the experience. She is rightfully proud of that fact, and I am proud of her.

Sometimes “not getting beat” isn’t just the consolation prize. Sometimes it’s all there is, and it’s enough- not because it has to be, but because it actually is. If not for ourselves, then for someone watching.

Now if only it cured insomnia…


6 thoughts on “Just don’t get beat…

  1. I still trying to publish an EV article for my local town, each time they look at it they suck in thier teeth & ask me to trim out any ‘challenging’ opinions. I’m ready to throw in the towel.

    Thanks for reminding not to.

  2. I think ‘moxie’ is a good description for you;-)

    There are some things you have to be willing to walk away from and let go- but not all things- some are too important, such as this. And if your life is grounded in other things (faith, family, character), and your self-worth is not tied to a success that may never come, you’ll do all right regardless.

    As for your insomnia…I could talk about computers for a bit and send you the recording! Works for my wife;-)

  3. Chelsea, You are an inspiration even to those you have never spoken to. I read your wordpress all the time and it encourages me to continue. I have been working at starting a vocational school to upgrade auto mechanics to EV service and repair, I have refined the startup to a mere $ 200,000 but the investors make ignorant comments about automobiles being a bad investment. I know how wrong they are but they are not open to the ideas of others. So I plug on. A visit to my website might enlighten them but they wallow in self importance and won’t consider others may be more intelligent and informed than they are. There I have RAVED enough thanks for the forum. I say again your “Dispatches” are always very interesting to me,

    1. Thank you, Dennis- that means a lot!

      Have you conspired with others that already have such programs? I know Seminole College in Sanford offers classes, Cerritos College here, etc. I’d imagine they might have some ideas…

      1. Chelsea,
        I have interviewed with Mayors of Cities, and University Committees and they all agree with me and my proposed program training experienced mechanics to work on Electric Systems, but, none will offer start-up funding. (we need $250,000 to open and run the first year. ) However with conservative expectations at the end of the third year we would be over $1,000,000 ahead with all expenses paid too. So the 45% share I would offer would easily double their investment. That is a lot more profitable than real estate. Your comment concerning Community Colleges and Universities are often heard. But their programs tend to run two to four years, and graduates want to do Design and Engineering not simple repair and service and some conversions. Like I often ask, if your Tesla has a defective fuse to whom will you have it towed for repair? Our closest dealership is in Miami, 275 miles away! I want a trained EV Mechanic at every independent repair shop that services gas/diesel autos.

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