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.



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