A Letter to the St. Louis Driver Glued to His Phone at a Red Light

Your obsessive scrolling is setting off a very bad row of Dominos

click to enlarge It's really so interesting you have to check it at every stop light? - FLICKR/go digital
FLICKR/go digital
It's really so interesting you have to check it at every stop light?

Dear St. Louis Driver,

You imbecile. You petulant child. You’re first in line for a red light and you’ve whipped out your phone to help pass the time. You’re 50 Instagram memes deep when suddenly you hear a car horn. You look up. You have a left arrow.

“Golly gee willikers,” you wonder to yourself as you pass by the light, which is now turning yellow, “how long was that light green?”

The answer is forever. For-fucking-ever, you fool.

As the majority of us waited and watched for the light to change like adults, you decided to inconvenience your fellow St. Louisan by scrolling through the black hole of social media that fuels the anxiety you are always weirdly complain-bragging about. God forbid you even attempt to be bored for more than several seconds and contribute the bare minimum of attention that your society asks from you when you’re operating a piece of deadly machinery.

Never mind the fact that 3,000 people die every year because someone was looking at a screen instead of looking out their windshield. The point here is that you have made me miss my mother-loving light, doubling the amount of gas and time I have to spend avoiding eye contact with the guy outside my window asking for money I don’t have.

I might be less mad had more than two cars been able to escape the lane of this horribly planned, godforsaken intersection. But no, the second car in line wasn’t paying attention either. That driver too decided they were above allowing themselves a single second alone with their thoughts, instead swiping left on someone who did not meet their standards of physical beauty.

So here we all are, stopped dead at a light that has been indicating we can move forward for several seconds, so you and the goose behind you can get that drip of stimulation you are hopelessly addicted to.

You have also put that third car in a situation they shouldn’t be in. “Is that first car going? Is the second car going to honk? Is the second car even paying attention?” These are questions they shouldn’t have to ask. The line of defense shouldn’t have to be that deep when the task at hand is this disgustingly simple.

To be clear, there’s never a reason why it should take three people to get a lane of traffic moving through a green light, ESPECIALLY when any of those lights intersect with Chippewa. You NEVER know when that light is going to change. You HAVE to pay attention.

Whenever someone from the back of the line is forced to honk to alert the leaders of the lane of their ineptitude, it’s generally too late. The green arrow has lived the majority of its life. Most of us will be stranded, and the lane will start to get backed up forcing several more rounds of drivers to helplessly watch the light change more than once before they’re able to get through.

But then again, this isn’t really your problem, is it? You got through the light just fine, and you were able to mindlessly look at your stupid phone, something you do for a minimum of 12 hours a day anyway while miraculously accomplishing nothing.

And of course, after you were able to get through, it fucking happened again. The exact same thing. The cars immediately behind you took your example. They too decided that courtesy was for chumps. They knew they would probably get through the line even if they didn’t notice the light change right away. Why consider anyone behind them has somewhere else to be, or has a life to live that is not done so exclusively on their phone?

So, on behalf of all St. Louis drivers, I am simply requesting that you stop being an inconsiderate selfish gadabout and pay attention to the light in front of you. When it turns green, GO.

Collin Preciado

Collin Preciado is a freelance culture writer who has written for publications such as Polygon and Little White Lies. He is also a regular contributor to the dining section of St. Louis Magazine.Find him on Twitter at @collinpreciado.

The RFT welcomes concise essays on topics of local interest. Contact Sarah at [email protected] if you've got something to say.

Subscribe to Riverfront Times newsletters.

Follow us: Apple NewsGoogle News | NewsBreak | Reddit | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Or sign up for our RSS Feed
Scroll to read more St. Louis Metro News articles


Join Riverfront Times Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.