Patron of the Week
Some patrons you can just tell are going to be crazy. Clemens, a homeless man in drag who came into the library this week, saved me from guessing and told me right when he walked in: “My name’s Clemens. I’m crazy and want to use a computer.” To seal the deal, he extended his hand to shake.
If I’d been anywhere but the library, I would have shaken his hand and wondered what exactly he meant by “I’m crazy.” At the library, however, saying you’re crazy simply means you belong. What I couldn’t, however, shake from my mind as I shook his hand was how exactly a homeless man in drag got the name Clemens.
As I signed him up for the Internet, he proudly explained, “I’m just visiting. I’m from hell.” I thought about asking about the weather this time of year, but didn’t want to extend the conversation any longer. “I’m from an artist community of hell called Los Angeles,” he explained further. “I had a wild night last night. I got drunk, took some magic pills, and ended up in a prison down here. They just let me out. I probably should get an HIV test, because I’m pretty sure I screwed more than one person, and possibly a camel—but that might have just been the pills talking.”
The man had just openly confessed that he might have had sex with a camel, and I didn’t know what to say, so I said the first thing on my mind, “You can use computer No. 10.”
He nodded, and then asked, “Can you tell me the name of the site that has pictures of every single person, dead or alive, and you can see them from every possible angle?” I almost directed him to the Homeland Security website, but instead went the easy route and just said I didn’t know what he was talking about.
For the next 30 minutes, the man sat in front of the computer but didn’t actually use it. Instead, he watched everyone who walked by, and talked to anyone who would listen. After 30 minutes, he came to the desk once more and wanted directions back to Los Angeles on the bus. He didn’t care what part of L.A.—any part of the city would do.
When he left, I smiled, and kind of hoped he would come back. A little bit of crazy is nice sometimes.
Lost & Found
Camouflage Batman hat
Spelling book (level 2)
Organic-yogurt container (empty)
Rubber ball (flattened)
Jurassic Park sports bottle
CD wallet (containing approximately 24 CDs, all classical except for one: Céline Dion)