In Praise of The Young Man Who Danced At The Red Light

As I sat behind the wheel of my mom-style minivan I counted the seconds ticking slowly by. I began to wonder how much of my life I had spent waiting at these devilishly long red lights, contemplating everything from my very existence to the true ingredients of the Krabby Patty Secret Formula.

The particularly soft song playing through the aux cord was gradually coming to its close, stirring me from my daydreams and sucking me back into the boredom of the moment. My wandering eyes made their way to the car in front of my own, and I couldn’t help but notice the young, bearded man in the driver’s seat who was, for lack of a better term, getting his groove on. I haven’t the slightest idea what he was listening to, or what kind of a day he was having, but it must have been very, very good. As he nodded his head easily and rambunctiously tapped the steering wheel, I couldn’t help but smile. He was just so happy. His carefree demeanor seemed to emanate from the tips of his dancing fingers and reach into my own heart, so much so, that I began to laugh. And before I knew it, I couldn’t stop laughing.

When he glanced into his rear view mirror and noticed me giggling like a fool, he ceased his moving and grooving. I immediately felt guilty for having put an end to his joy, but my regrets were short lived. After a moments rest, he grinned back at me through the mirror and continued his lighthearted dancing. I found myself so relieved by his unwavering happiness that my smile grew even broader and my laughter even heartier. When he glanced back at me once more, his own cheer compounding upon itself, I was struck by the sudden urge to retaliate in equal joyousness. I quickly searched my music for an upbeat, sunny song, and settled on an old favorite. Starting a little timidly, I soon struck up a smooth and shamelessly silly dance. We laughed at each other and at the supreme kookiness of the situation, and I don’t know about him, but I had long forgotten about the seemingly never ending red light.

And as quickly as it began, it was finished. The cars slowly creaked into movement, stretching tired gears that grew cold waiting for the light to shine green. My new found friend pulled into the left lane in preparation to make his turn, and I stepped lightly on the gas pedal, ready to continue on my journey. As the engine revved and my soccer mom ride pushed onward, the young man and I peeked over at one another and smiled for the final time. I didn’t even have time to look back at him through my rear view mirror before he was out of sight.

Out of sight, but not so far out of mind.

Thank you, young man who danced at the red light, for making me smile. Thank you for reminding me to be joyful for myself, in the peaceful moments I spend alone when no one is watching. This one’s for you.

Keep living merrily. Keep doing you.

Gabriella

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