I was stopped at a red light with a monster SUV next to me. I looked over and could see a couple of kids in the back seat, with the windows down, looking down at me. They were high up because of the size of the SUV and also, I hope, because they were in car seats. So I smiled and waved. The little girl, who I think might have been seven or eight, smiled back. Then she rolled up the tinted window and disappeared. I laughed and went back to waiting for the light to change.
Then, because this light was taking forever, I looked back over at the monster SUV. The little girl had rolled the window back down and was smiling at me. I laughed again. She rolled the window back up.
The light really was taking a ridiculously long time to change. I looked back at the SUV. She’d rolled the window back down and was waving at me. I laughed and waved back. She started pumping her fist. Could she hear that I had Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” playing on the radio even with my windows up? Surely not, but I started to roll my window down. Maybe she was listening to something she wanted me to hear. Then she rolled her window up, black tinting again completely obscuring her, then rolled it down again, stuck her tongue out at me, and waved. Then the light changed. Whoever was driving turned left and I went straight and just like that we parted ways.
It felt like such a long time but really it was probably less than two minutes, the light taking so long to change because we were stopped at a side road that cuts across a major thoroughfare.
As we went our separate ways I wished I could give her some parting message, something to say, Hey, you’re obviously a great kid, funny and smart, and I wish you the best of luck. It looks like you’ve got a great life ahead of you and I hope nothing changes that, but, no matter what, never lose your sense of fun.
That would be a lot to pack into even two minutes, even harder for a stranger to convey even under circumstances that would make it possible to have a real conversation. Maybe it’s enough that we just had that brief interaction, that, for both of us, waiting at a red light was a little more interesting than usual.