The Most Awkward Place on Earth

Stop lights are one of the most awkward places on earth.

The other day I was driving with all three kids in the back seat. Of course I was daydreaming so I wasn’t paying attention to anything around me. Pushing the break, my car pulled to a stop at a red light when I felt it. A tingle ran down my spine as a weight descended and encompassed me. You know that feeling– the one you get when someone is watching you.  

Snapping out of my far off thoughts my eyes shifted to the right. A pair of eyes met mine from the car next to me. Before I could blink I was in a stare-down with a complete stranger.

I didn’t know what to do. Should I look away and act like I never saw her? Or should I enter the staring contest like an eager five-year old? Maybe she was being nice, and trying to warn me of something. Maybe I ought to roll down my window and ask if I have something on my face.   

A million scenarios raced through my mind as I quickly looked away. After a few seconds I figured the girl was adjusting her radio so I peeked her direction. Apparently the motion of my head drew her attention and there we were making awkward eye contact again.


Starting to develop a nervous twitch I looked at my phone and then glanced at the light. Before I realized it I was looking around, feeling a little bored, and wondering how long the red light would last when “Wooo” there she was again. Our eyes locked and I couldn’t seem to look away fast enough.

Thankfully the light turned green or I might still be there, locked in awkward-land. Staring at a complete stranger like a bobble head for half an hour.  

As I pulled away I tried to recover from the unexpected stare-down. And you can only imagine my anxiety as I approached the next light. “Don’t look up.” I warned myself, “No matter what happens do not look up.”

As I moved my eyes up from looking at the steering wheel the voice in my head got louder. “DON’T look over there!” I didn’t listen.

But I didn’t regret it when the teenage girl next to me was doing her best version of “What Did the Fox Say?”


I would have tapped on her window and said, “I can see you.” But something tells me she wouldn’t have cared.  

Like I said earlier, stop lights are awkward places. People can see you. Sometimes you know it and sometimes you need to be reminded of that.

Has this ever happened to you?