"Dear strangers at traffic lights. We need to talk."

Kate Leaver


Dear strangers at traffic lights,

I can see you, picking your nose as we wait for the lights to change to green. You, over there, with the nose. And you, pretty lady in the pink jumper, I just caught you practicing your best duck face in the rear-view mirror, and I saw you inspecting that pimple on your forehead. As for you over there, handsome man with voluminous hair in the shiny new sports car to my right, I literally just witnessed you smell your own armpits. Yep, saw it all. Yep, even that moment where you winked at yourself in the mirror. Saw. It. All.

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Nissan X-Trail. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100 per cent authentic and written in their own words.

I truly don’t get it. Why do you all behave as though your car is a private little moving box, where nobody else can see you? Why do you sit there cheerily getting on with your nose-picking, snot-flicking, pimple-inspecting, BO-checking behaviour like you’re invincible and invisible to the outside world? When actually you’re just treating all the other people sitting in their cars beside you to a creepy little glimpse into the state of your personal hygiene.

Dear strangers at traffic lights, I can see you.

It’s not a parallel universe in there buddy, where you can get on with your deviant alone-time behaviour uninterrupted. That car of yours? Yeah, it’s not fitted with an invisibility cloak. It’s just a set of four wheels and fancy metals in a car shape, doing car things, getting you between the many venues of your life. Your windows, unless you’ve tinted them obnoxiously dark, are completely see-through. I can see you! And your pets! And your kids!

It’s not like I mean to look inside your car, or at your family, or into the minutiae of your everyday world. It’s just that when you’re stuck in traffic and you’re being sensible enough not to check your phone or flick wildly between radio stations… well, all you’ve got left to entertain you is the world right outside your window. Ain’t nobody got time for traffic, but when you’re stuck in bumper-to-bumper, or just chilling at the lights, you’ve got to find something worth looking at to pass the time.


And that’s when my eyes wander innocently across to your four-wheels-and-metal. It’s when I can totally see your kid pick his nose, roll it and flick it out the window. Towards my car. I can see that you’ve got Finding Nemo playing in the back seat DVD player but even that extremely delightful marine adventure isn’t stopping them from fidgeting and screaming. I can see that you’ve buckled your super-cute toddler into her car seat and you’re hoping to goodness she’ll fall asleep, but instead of nodding off to the sound of the Play School CD you’re playing, she’s making that special Cockatoo screeching noise she reserves just for confined spaces and road trips. I can see that you’re trying to take a business call on loudspeaker but your little son keeps throwing things at the back of your head.

I know what your kid is doing. But you don’t.

Really, truly, in those minutes we sit side by side in our cars at the traffic lights, complete strangers apart from the unifying experience of peak-hour traffic, I can get such a revealing sneak-peek into the chaos of your life. And I wonder what you see when you glance across into my car… Are you judging me because I treat my backseat like a giant handbag, strewn with all my belongings? Can you hear that I’m playing an old Justin Timberlake CD on repeat? Did you catch me busting a move at the lights?

Oh, to the lovely looking mama with three kids in the back. Your son just flipped me off. Yep, flipped me the bird with his adorable little child hands. Bet you didn’t know that.


Kate  x

What do you do to entertain yourself when you’re stuck at the traffic lights?

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