One of the advantages of having such an unusual name is that, when I hear someone say “Jeremiah,” I’m 80 percent certain they’re talking to or about me. So I’m trained to react to it like a dog reacts to its own name.
That’s why I was in a state of such high alert when the lacrosse bros were sitting behind me in the cafe, having a long, detailed conversation about their bro, Jeremiah. I was so tense and unfocused while they were there that I don’t think I wrote more than a paragraph. By the time they wrapped up, I was a wreck, relieved that they and their bro were gone.
Taking their place were a middle-aged lady and a teenage boy who, based on their conversation, were a church youth leader and a church youth. They talked about, at length, a fellow youth named Jeremiah. Was this this same Jeremiah as bro Jeremiah? It doesn’t matter. I have a repetitive stress injury from my ears perking up every time they heard that name.
I don’t think I can adequately express the amount of anxiety that hearing my name coming from strangers causes me. That’s why I avoid wearing my name tag at work. It’s been literally years since I’ve heard my name spoken about a person who wasn’t me, so the bombardment gave me a bit of a complex. That’s why I was so relieved to go to work that evening, where people don’t ever use my name, even when they are referring to me.