Gridlock

Everyone’s always complaining about gridlock, about political gridlock, how we can’t get anything done because everything moves so slowly, so inefficiently. What’s the answer? I think the answer is more gridlock. Think about it, think about real gridlock, like traffic. Say it takes you two hours to get to work. That sucks, but you’ll still do it. What are you going to do, move? Quit your job? No, you’ll just complain about how it takes you too long to get to work everyday.

But let’s throw in even more gridlock. Let’s see what happens when it takes you three hours to get to work. Or four hours. Or let’s add so much gridlock that movement, all movement in all cars, it just ceases completely. Traffic stops. Eventually people put their cars into park, they get out, start walking around, they look to the other drivers and everybody’s just kind of looking at each other, you know, those faces like, “Huh? What’s going on? Can you believe this?”

Believe it. Three hours pass. Four, five, the sun starts to set. Nobody wants to leave their car right there, stuck in traffic on the expressway, but what are you going to do, starve? Are you going to go to the bathroom right there, right outside your car door? No, your car’s going to run out of gas eventually, your cell phone’s going to die. Just follow everybody else out of there, walking toward the nearest exit.

And then you make it to that exit and you look around, everybody’s looking around, the traffic is just as bad off the expressway, cars at a total standstill, not an inch for any vehicle to maneuver anywhere. The gridlock is absolute. So you start heading, which way? How long is it going to take to get somewhere, to get back?

Finally you get home, dirty, tired, you open the front door and your body just starts kind of breaking down on itself. You’re not even that big of a crier, but it’s like the weeping has started somewhere deep within, like your muscles are sobbing, and you just want to take a shower, get some rest.

And the gridlock never clears up. It’s like you open the door and all you can hear are police car sirens, fire trucks blaring their horns, like it’s going to do something, like the noise is going to cut through to the source of the traffic. Soon all of the delis are out of groceries and your neighbors start hoarding bottled water and batteries.

So everybody, not knowing what to do, they turn on their TVs, and it’s the mayor, it’s your governor, the President. The gridlock is everywhere, the traffic taking up literally every available inch of maneuverable space in the country. So taking some executive action, the President hires wrecking crews, strong men, anybody out there with a wrench, some tools. “Get out there,” he tells us, “just start taking apart cars, hauling everything to the side of the road. Let’s get this done.”

And that’s it I guess. Cars would start to be dismantled and people would make sure nothing like this happens ever again. Because things can’t start to get better unless they start to get unbearable first. Nobody’s going to stop buying gas at five, six, seven dollars a gallon. But five thousand dollars a gallon? Eight million dollars for a college education? Forty-eight hour lines to vote? Yeah, once it gets that bad, somebody will figure out something. We’ll all demand that somebody figures out something. But just keeping things the way they are, yeah, a two hour commute to work sucks, but we’ll all just complain, everybody gets used to complaining, everything slowly getting worse.

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