My alter ego woke me up the other night. He couldn’t sleep.
“You’re such a whiner,” he said. “You whine about everything.”
Great, I thought. Now I can’t sleep either.
“What are you talking about?” I asked.
He shook his head and gave me the stink eye.
“Like you don’t know. You being a whiner, for starters,” he said.
“Explain,” I demanded, albeit quietly, lest I wake up the wife.
“Gladly,” he said. “Let’s start with traffic.”
“I hate traffic,” I said.
“I know,” said my alter ego. “And you whine about it. All the time. All.The.Time. You can’t even get down the driveway without somebody cutting you off and prompting a whine.”
I pondered that for a second.
“Well, what else can I do? I have to drive to get to work, and my wife is always wanting to go somewhere and drag me along. I’ve got things to do and places to be. I can’t just not drive. And right now driving around here is no fun.”
He didn’t say anything for a minute. I thought I had him. Nope.
“Instead of whining, do something about it,” he finally said.
“Like get a tank. Then, the next time some swarthy guy with a Michigan tag cuts you off in traffic, you can put a sabot round right up his tailgate.”
I have to admit, I liked the sound of that. Strike fear in the heart of the enemy, and if that doesn’t work, blow them back to the Rust Belt from whence they came.
I might even be able to get a used tank on eBay, or www.buyatank.com.
My alter ego wasn’t through, though.
“It’s not just traffic you whine about either, you know,” he said, then proceeded to list other things I evidently like to whine about, like suburban sprawl and the apparent intent of the powers that be of turning all of the Coastal Empire into a giant badly Planned Unit Development, complete with vinyl-sided houses parked one right next to the other and separated only by outlet malls, Walmarts, Krogers, warehouses and luxury vinyl apartment complexes with 22 cars or Jeeps per resident.
“It’s going to get to where you won’t be able to tell Richmond Hill from Port Wentworth from Pooler,” I said, in the darkness. “It’s depressing.”
“So do something about it,” my alter ego said.
“Like what?” I asked.
That stumped him.
“Well,” he said. “You can’t run over developers or state representatives or county commissioners with your tank, so that’s out.”
“Glad you think so,” I said. I know some developers and would hate to see them get run over by anything larger than a golf cart, maybe.
That because developers are kind of like anybody else, except some of them hire PR firms to write pompous-sounding upscale gas about the assembly line subdivisions they build and give weird names, like Escaladefall Wanderleaf, Phase 9.
Apart from that, they’re just like you and me. My alter ego isn’t buying it, though.
“They’re destroying the planet,” he said. “All the asphalt and concrete is contributing to climate change. Besides, we’re going to run out of water if all these new people keep watering their lawns all summer. As it is, I’m already waiting for our well to run dry.”
“Oh, I don’t know about all that,” I said. “Destroying the planet seems kind of harsh. More like they’re, uh, developing it into something different. More shopper friendly or something. More better.”
“Yeah, right. Some of them are OK, but some are like termites, or fire ants. Or boll weevils,” my alter ego said. “Look what they did to Florida. Would you want to live in Florida?”
“You got a point,” I said.
My alter ego was quiet for a minute.
“Still,” he said finally. “I don’t know how you stop them. They’ve got all the money and a lot of support. I mean, think about it. The guy who was CEO of Dollar General is now a U.S. senator. The guy who decided to put a Dollar General on every corner of the U.S. got elected to the Senate. People like that captain of industry stuff.“ I shuddered. He was right.
“So what should I do?” I asked.
My alter ego thought some more.
“I don’t know. Keep whining, I guess. Now shut up. You’ve got to drive tomorrow and I need the sleep.”