Am I Crazy?

By Jan Stahlheber
By Jan Stahlheber

Yes, I am “textbook” crazy.  But that’s beside the point.

Recently, I heard through the homeless grapevine that one of my favorite people who spends his nights at the ASL will soon be leaving Laguna Beach.  I confirmed it with the source himself.  Jeff is finally able to leave town and will go home to his mother(ship).

I have been known to call him The Spinner, others called him Wax On/Wax Off.  Months ago, I told Jeff he was one of my heroes and I was going to write about him, and there would be mention of the arm spinning he engages in while lying horizontal on a bench at the LB bus station.  Thankfully, no one has put “armrests” on Jeff’s bench yet.  He just chuckled and walked away smoking a snipe, with the cigarette I had given him tucked behind his ear.

Jeff is a veteran of the United States of America.  I’m told there is an additional tragedy in his past.  He can walk faster than anyone I know with a giant homeless bag on his back. He probably learned that in the military.  Jeff will be getting off probation soon.  Giving him kudos, Doug commented that, “He walked it off, man, he walked it off.”  Soon, Jeff will no longer have to stay within firmly defined geographical boundaries and times of day he can be, say, well, anywhere.

Jeff is a great guy, sweet as sugar.  He doesn’t talk much, but his pearls of wisdom are thought-provoking and darkly hysterical. We were discussing delusions one day. Not that we have them. It’s those other guys. Jeff joked that, “well, at least I don’t have delusions of grandeur.”  Jeff has stayed at the ASL since 2011 and will be heartily missed.

We also miss Big Red. I probably know him by another name.  He found his own way out of the homeless pit in August.  Accidentally on purpose?  Fly high, Big Red.  We love ya, Dude!

Another “resident” of the ASL departed Laguna Beach some months ago with a giant smile plastered to his face.  Corporal Jason Farris of the Laguna Beach Police Department had found Charlie’s brother.

Charlie was a beloved family member of the homeless population in Laguna Beach and is definitely missed.  I never found out if Charlie was his “real” name or a nickname because he was of the Asian persuasion.  I used to sit across the table from Charlie most Wednesdays at the local branch of the Orange County Public Library.  He would quietly do his word puzzles, and I would cover new books while working as a volunteer.

Among other things, Charlie loved plain potato chips and feeding bread to birds.  He wouldn’t turn down a cigarette, even if it was menthol.  Most of the time, you couldn’t understand a word Charlie said.  “I doe noe,” was his response when I would ask him where my best friend was.  Hours or days later, Charlie would finally ask her, “Have you seen your lady?”

Am I crazy for being in love with Laguna Beach and all of its Lagunatics?  No!  I’d be crazy not to.


Jane, 56, a California native, resided in San Clemente before moving to Laguna Beach in 2009.

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