Jefferson Memorial

With The Rush of Adrenaline Came Anger

Jamison KoehlerMiscellaneous

I got held up on my way to Union Station today.  Or at least I think I did.

I had finished up early at court and was heading over to the station to catch the next MARC train, and I was walking through what you could euphemistically call a “transitional” neighborhood near the food kitchen on E Street.

I was sweaty and hot and regretting I hadn’t driven to D.C. that morning when I turned around to see two young men rapidly closing the distance behind me.  I don’t think they expected me to turn around so quickly so I may have thrown off their timing a bit.  One of the men stopped in his tracks as soon as I turned.  The other — a shorter, younger-looking guy wearing a hoodie in 90 degree weather — got up into my face:  “Let me hold a dollar for you,” he said.  He was doing this head-bobbing thing, while accentuating the ‘hood in his accent.

My wife and I tell our children that if they are ever the victim of a robbery, they are to immediately surrender everything they have.  Nothing is worth risking their lives for.  As it turns out, that is easier said than done.

It took me a moment to realize what was going on.  My first reaction was surprise:  Really?  You are going to do this in broad daylight with all these people around?

My second reaction was to think:  Hey, isn’t that funny?  I was just talking to my wife about this. I was telling her that, given how much time I spend around criminals, it is hard for me to be concerned about becoming the victim of a crime.  The mystery, the allure, is just gone.  I know the terrible things these people can do.  I also see them at their most vulnerable.

Finally, with the rush of adrenaline, came anger.  Believe me, sir, I told him.  You do not want to mess with me today.

And apparently he didn’t.  He kept up the chatter but he did back away and when I looked back a couple of minutes later, the two men had disappeared from view.

There was no weapon, and no threat of a weapon, and, for all I know, they may have been pan-handling, not robbing me.  But the one thing I do know is this:  I have no recollection at all of what the taller guy looked like, and I know I could not pick the other guy out in a line-up. That is, of course, unless they showed me a photo array with only one guy wearing a hoodie. Then I would have him.  Then I would know him for sure.