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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

What street drug is that patron on? A guessing game. 

Image hosted by Photobucket.comThe other day I was having a conversation at the reference desk with a drifter type, a veteran hippy who was wearing a leather floppy hat just like Dennis Hopper's character Billy in Easy Rider. He told me that the last time he was in the city was for New Year's Eve many years ago. He attended some party in an industrial junk yard and a woman, burnt out but still attractive, approached him and complained that she didn't have anyone to kiss at midnight, which was fast approaching. He told her that if she didn't find anyone else to come back and they could kiss each other to ring in the New Year properly. She found him at midnight and they kissed at midnight, but they parted ways soon afterward. He later found out that she was Cathy Smith, the woman who had administered the fatal speedball to John Belushi.

I had just said, "Good thing it didn't work out with her - it sounds like she was unlucky to party with," when I heard the sound of screaming and fighting. I looked over to see about 6 security guards tackle and try to restrain a patron. He was putting up quite a fight with what seemed like superhuman strength, but the security guards finally managed to get him out the door. I found out that a little earlier he had taken over a table by spreading out stacks of papers, all full of scribblings and John Nash formulas and calculations. He began cackling and pulling his hair out and becoming increasingly, terrifyingly agitated. When he started screaming at other patrons, both actual and imagined, the security guard asked him to leave. He lunged at the guard and that's when the melee began. I suspect he was in the tweaking stage of methamphetamine use, though it was my understanding that in that stage you had more of bunker mentality and preferred holing up in your dwelling so you could take apart your electronics unmolested. So maybe he was on angel dust, which would explain the superhuman strength. A few hours later I was working the phones he called to file a complaint about the brutality of our security. He held it together for a little while but his case soon disintegrated into nonsense word salad. Supposedly paranoid schizophrenics and tweakers are indistinguishable in psychological tests. In any case, I spent the rest of the afternoon pondering whether he was on angel dust or meth. Kind of a waste of time, but it did make the afternoon pass quickly.

Comments:
You're right about meth & schizo. PCP isn't too far off either. There's a drug that works almost identically to PCP called MK-801 - sometimes used as a model for schizophrenia.
 
Yep. Sounds like MK-801 or PCP to me (eventful adolescence plus lots of druggie friends). Tweakers do, indeed, tend to stay home and either take things apart or clean.
 
Oh my god, the other day I had this hellish paper jam to clear at the reference desk ... seriously, I feel like I work at the Mayberry Public Library compared to yours. Do some people actually ask ordinary questions?
 
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