October 28, 2019

Why are we not moving?

Scott Watkins

Short storyTraffic, 2019

‘Traffic’ reflects the nature of mental health issues in young men. The protagonist is in a car surrounded by family and is going through what he describes as his own personal hell and yet he refuses to talk to anyone about his rising anxiety. His only real comfort is a shared moment with a boy in another car who seems similarly as anxious. The other boy may as well be a reflection of his own fears as he cannot talk to him. We live in a world which is becoming more accepting of mental health issues, but there remains a stigma that we must continue to chip away at. The boy overcomes his anxiety as the traffic eases, his fears for what may have happened on the road ahead put at ease with the mundane nature of the incident. This portrays the common response to another’s anxieties – phrases like ‘don’t worry,’ or ‘it’ll pass soon.’ The boy’s feelings of claustrophobia and dread do go away, but the final line of the story represents the futile nature of these phrases. The car remains cold, just as the story started, and another traffic jam could be just around the corner.