JEREMY

For a younger Jeremy there was never enough time to get to work in the morning, meet up with shallow friends for happy hour, or make it home before he had to go back out for a date with some psychologically messed up girl who derived power from her job and income.  One crisp spring morning in early May 2001 he was ascending the escalators at the Foggy Bottom Metro stop in Washington, DC on his way to work.  In his usual fashion at that time, he was running a bit early for work, but felt a sense of urgency about getting where he was going.  Most of the people around him, the majority of whom were Washingtonians, seemed to be as hurried as he was.  Many were scurrying up the stairs on the left-hand side of the escalator, rather than standing to the right.  He followed the left-side, making it to the fare-card machines with a mass of business suit and tie clad workers.  As one of them, his tie clip keeping his chokehold tie from flailing in the breeze always encountered at metro entrances, he did not take immediate notice of which fare-card machine line he was entering.   

Soon he found himself behind a boy about ten years old, who although slowly figuring out how to work the machine, was taking far too long for Jeremy’s impatient desire to exit the metro.  After a stall of just a few seconds, Jeremy took matters into his own hands, pushing the boy’s card through the machine and forcing the child forward and out the other side, before the youth was ready.  The child looked shocked, confused, and a little scared, but Jeremy didn’t care because he was in a hurry to arrive early at a job he did not like.  As Jeremy quickly rushed to reestablish his position for the next free escalator step he heard the boy’s mother in the background say “Don’t ever let anyone push you again!”   

Jeremy froze in his tracks, looked back, to find the mother’s eyes staring directly into his own.  Jeremy soaked in the hate-filled glare she projected toward him.  He then looked down at the boy who stood almost frozen among the swarming masses of business people.  Jeremy had caused this child to suffer.  He had created this anger in his mother.  In his hurry to achieve a meaningless goal, Jeremy had instilled a sense of fear and antipathy within a set of people.  What was he rushing for?  Why was he trying to hurry to a place where he hated to spend time?  Who was he that he could put the speed of his approach to anything above the health and safety of a child?  It was at this point, eyes locked with the child’s, that Jeremy realized:  This is not the way I should be living my life.  I must change.