I am fascinated by Jeffrey, introduced here.
"I'm so itchy because I'm allergic," he tells me.
"What are you allergic to?"
There must be more to it.
"What kind of flowers?" I ask him.
"Have you ever heard of daffodils?"
He comes in wearing a shirt from Margaritaville in the Cayman Islands.
"Where did you get your shirt, Jeffrey?"
Since many of the students shop at second hand stores or dress from donation boxes, it is always reasonable to assume they have not been to places that their T-shirts promote.
"Macarenaville. Have you ever heard of Macarenaville? It's so nice in Florida."
He tells me again how allergic he is to flowers.
As we get into the car, Jeffrey makes a disgusted face.
"Do you smell that?" he asks me.
"What does it smell like?"
"It's my cologne," he declares, pronouncing it "ka-wone".
"I put on lots of kawone every morning . I put it on my chest. It wakes me up, helps my brain to focus."
"Are you sure you don't mean coffee?" I offer, but he only stares at me blankly.
I feel like I am playing straight man to some unhinged stand-up comedian.
We drive along in relative silence, which is always awkward for me, so I tell Jeffrey we should sing a song.
"Its too hot in this car to warm up my singing groove", he grumbles. He says groove with a 'w' instead of an 'r'.
After a little while, he asks me what time it is.
"I can't read my watch right now," he explains, "it fell asleep on me."
"How do you wake it up?"
"Yell at it." He proceeds to demonstrate by very hesitantly telling his watch to wake up. After a few seconds of staring down at his wrist, he sighs and goes back to looking out the window.
"We're a team, right?" Jeffrey asks. "Yeah, a secret mission agent team. Have you ever heard of a secret agent team? I have. I will." He laughs softly to himself.
My sense that Jeffrey is leading me into a subversion of time and logic only deepens as the day goes on.
I ask him to put something away and he refuses, then abruptly complies.
"I was just trying to be crow," he says. "I mean cool. Like Joe cool. Do you know Joe?"
He points to the sign on the door of the men's bathroom.
"See right there? That's ladies. This is how I know things."
Eventually I need a break from the surreal mudslide that is daily life with Jeffrey, and another staff person takes him on a walk to the park.
He returns, bearing me a gift.
"A flower? I thought you were allergic to flowers, Jeffrey."
"No," he rebukes me, as if I am the only idiot in the conversation, "not flowers."
"He told me he was picking that for his mom," says the other staff member.
The Jeffrey Flower, with standard size California raisin for reference.