Setting: Summer suburban backyard Bar-B-Que when the men and women have self-segregated. The men are over by the grill holding their beers while the women are inside the air-conditioned house drinking wine coolers. The dudes are talking.
Vinny: “Good to see you, my man. (Pulls Gil in by the hand for a shoulder bump) “So, how’d you come here, man?”
Gil: “I took the Parkway to 1 & 9 and just came straight down.
Rob: (Swallows a big swig of beer, wipes his mouth on the the back of his hand) “Nah. You don’t go that way. Too many lights. I take the Turnpike to exit 9 and then get on 18 South. It’s much faster.
Vinny: “Oh man, you both need to learn the back ways. Saturday traffic to the Shore is a bitch. I cut across 18 to 9 South at the split and that takes off a good 7 minutes.”
The wives are looking out the window at their menfolk waving their beers around as the flames leap up from the charcoal in belly of the grill. They know it’s a ritual of their coming together to discuss their directional prowess. It’s a badge of honor in this Garden State to find the fastest — not necessarily the most direct — route from point A to point B. There are bonus points for speedy rides to and from sports and concert venues.
The wives nod knowingly. Sitting next to their driving men they secretly cheer the womanly GPS voice that declares, “Re-calulating,” whenever their mates think they know a better way. The fight for directional supremacy evens extends to trips they’ve made for years.
Gina opens the ‘fridge and takes out a platter of cold shrimp. Placing it in front of her guests she says, “Let’s see how long it takes them to find their way to the shrimp, ladies.”