The Perks of Responsibility

Ifeanacho MaryAnn
4 min readMar 18, 2023
The Responsible Girl by James Christensen

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. A repercussion, if you will.

However, standing at this T-junction facing my town’s station interchange, I realized this so-called reaction could sometimes be non-action.

For the past few months, I have been obsessed with traffic lights, with good reason. When I leave for work — with just a few minutes to spare before the bus leaves — I factor in how much time I will spend waiting for the little man at the traffic light to turn green. I have to pass underneath a train bridge to get to the bus station at the interchange. And before that bridge is a four-way junction, governed by a trio of traffic lights and a quartet of crosswalk lights. These lights are so central to my work day that I know the order in which they turn green.

On this day, I was calm. I had no buses to catch nor urgent rendezvouses to meet. I observed something as I clicked the button and waited for the crosslight signs to turn green. Although the crosswalk sign was still red, one by quick-feeted one, the people standing next to me were zipping to the other side of the road. A car rounding a bend almost hit the last of the lot. The driver was proper pissed and swore at the errant pedestrian, who cackled at the insults. This is a consistent thing. People crossing when the crosswalk sign is red, both when there is an approaching car and when there is none.

And it made me wonder: what if motorists started doing the same thing? What if they started beating red lights just because there was no oncoming car or pedestrian crossing?

One word: Catastrophe.

Accidents — or, at the very least, near-accidents — would be the order of the day. The motorists would get fines even if they beat the light on a lonely street.

Having a car is like being the firstborn child. It comes with perks and a double helping of responsibility. Pedestrians, like younger siblings, could be forgiven for misdeeds because they did not know better. However, to drive a car, you must take multiple lessons and tests. Lessons that emphasize the importance of patience, safety, and carefulness. Tests that check how well you have internalized these lessons.

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Ifeanacho MaryAnn

Storyteller, Long Distance Cat Mom. A quiet voice rambling in an isolated corner of the internet. I write on psychology, films, books and my random thoughts