It is so easy to walk by and ignore them as they babble to themselves or correction to others that exist only in their own minds. But imagine being trapped in a delusion that never goes away?
Clarence was schizophrenic, this fact was immediately apparent. But he began to chat with me and as I took my hipshot photos he told me his story; You see Clarence had been part of the 7 voyages of Sinbad and had actually found the treasure!
"And I know where it is!!! Tomorrow", he told me emphatically, "I am meeting with the government to finalize a deal". He provided glorious detail on how he would show them the location of Sinbad’s treasure for 50 Billion reward; a generous deal given it was worth about 7 trillion dollars!
I only said “wow! That is an amazing amount!” (deciding it was better embrace his delusion rather than argue it).
As he continued on it dawned on me that even in his current state, one of terrible mental illness, some elements of humanity always seems to be constant. In this case, the need for human interaction and to be relevant to others.
Now, Clarence, had seen my camera and told me that it was ok to take pictures if I wanted to. I replied that I didn’t have any change or I would give him some. He merely shook his head and said I won’t need that soon.
I snapped two more photos and received a brilliant smile.
I said my goodbyes by way of a “Well, I needed to get to work. See you tomorrow” I said.
“I won’t be here tomorrow” he replied with a smile.
That’s right! I replied. "Well, Ok then good luck tomorrow my friend and don't spend that 50 billion all in one place” I retorted as I returned the smile.
Clarence' very large and very proud smile was still on his face as I turned to walk on my way to the office.