Car wars: no winners

We almost had a brawl in the office the other day. Nothing major. No outbursts over Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders. No hysteria over the zombie apocalypse. We try to steer clear of the really controversial issues because we all have to get along, and politics and zombies are not good for productivity or your mental and physical well-being.

After years of slogging to work in the salt mines, I realize that people can be pretty vocal about their views, which can lead to serious arguments and even fisticuffs.
So it’s best to avoid politics, religion and sex and choose safer topics like, say, celebrity divorces, because they bring out our compassionate side. For example, wasn’t that terrible what Ben Affleck did to Jennifer Garner or what Miranda Lambert did to Blake Shelton — or was it the other way around? And I don’t even want to think about Kylie and Tyga.

However, things got really tense in the office recently when a coworker who lives on Staten Island (ergo, a resident of New York City and the State of New York) said he’s never seen drivers worse than Connecticut drivers.
I heard the bell ring. Round One!
“Are you insane!” I blurted out. “Nobody drives worse than New Yorkers, except maybe people from New Jersey and Massachusetts.”
OMG. What had I done! I have no self-control. Immediately, everyone ran for their weapons of choice and the fighting began. It was a free-for-all worse than Wrestlemania.
“That’s such a stupid thing to say!” a colleague from New Jersey stammered. “Only someone from Connecticut would make a dumb statement like that. You people are always speeding, especially the people who work at GE and can’t get out of your state fast enough!”

“And Connecticut drivers NEVER use their signal lights!” the Staten Island guy chimed in.

“What the heck are you talking about?” I said to him. “I’ve lived in Connecticut all my life and always use my signal light, and when my signal light is broken, I use hand signals!”
Break out the nunchucks, we’re going to war!
“I’ve noticed that too,” a New Jerseyite agreed. “Connecticut drivers don’t use their signals.”
“Listen, Buddy, I wouldn’t be too quick to criticize if the greatest contribution my state made to America was Snooki and the cast of Jersey Shore.”
And so it went ... but not before I offered my personal testimony that motorists from New York and New Jersey are among the worst in the nation, if not the universe, for passing on the right and hogging the passing lane.

“I witness it all the time,” I said, ready and willing to go under oath. “When I’m coming back from New Hampshire on I-91, all these skiers from your states are speeding to get home and practically run the rest of us law-abiding motorists off the road.”
“I don’t believe it.”
“Neither do I.”
“Well, next time I’ll take video, and we can offer it into evidence so you can see how your compatriots drive. You probably aren’t aware of it because there are so many traffic jams in your states and nobody can move because it’s bumper to bumper — and in some cases, they say the governor caused the gridlock.”
I realized I had to back off because I was outnumbered. But what gave them the right to malign the good state of Connecticut and say we’re speeders who don’t use signal lights? The next thing you know, they’ll say we’re overtaxed! But don’t believe a word of it!  We Connecticut residents actually volunteer to pay higher taxes because we’re civic-minded.

“Harrumph” was all I could say, until a few mornings later when I was racing to the train station because I was late, so I turned off the Post Road onto a side street and heard a loud horn blaring behind me from a very upset driver ... because I didn’t use my signal light. He was probably from Staten Island. I plead nolo contendere.

One LAST thing. A week ago, we were funneling down from three lanes to one, merging like civilized motorists, to get past a bad accident on I-95, and some guy zips around to make an end run so he could sneak into the front of the line.

“Wouldn’t you know,” I snickered to my wife. “New York license plates! They always have to cut in front of the line.”

“Ahh, those are Florida plates,” she said.

“Well, he probably moved to Florida from New York!”

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