Desert Sage

Gathering around the reference desk.
Gathering around the reference desk.

When I moved to Palm Springs I decided to turn over a new leaf with the blog and keep the nostalgia in the past with the eviction story. But occasionally something comes along that should be shared.

I was contacted recently by someone who was a summer hire at the firm I worked at in the early 80’s. In his email he wondered if I even remembered him and told a story from that summer 35 years ago.

Of course I remembered him, he was one of the cutest kids who ever worked for the firm. I made a concerted effort to mentor and train him.

 I didn’t remember the story, however, mainly because stuff like this happened all the time back then. The Corporate PC police had yet to come out in full force so this incident was treated as it should have been: no big deal.

*****

Hi Chris,

I’m glad we’re FB friends. Most of all, I’m glad you’re still around (even though unfortunately you had to leave SF).

It’s been a long time, and after watching so many people die in the 80s/90s I tend to assume that long lost friends are long dead friends. But in a dream that woke me the other night, a voice said abruptly “Chris Lenwell.”

Why that would be hurled at me in the middle of the night I do not know, but I got out of bed and Googled you. This led me to the B.A.R. coverage of your Ellis eviction, and (naturally) to your brilliant blog. You must know that you have written an important historical document, and I’ll be passing the url along to anyone who is either interested in knowing what life was like when San Francisco actually was a hip, real, place, OR is interested in what happened now that the tech giants have engulfed and devoured. I’m lucky I hung onto my house in Berkeley all these years, or else I too would be a former Bay Area resident. I’m very sorry about your ordeal, and I’m glad you were able to move on.

Your blog reminded me of one of the more amusing incidents in my pre-law life in which you figured when we both worked at the same firm. I used to wear a black leather jacket and one night I got hit on by a cute young guy who assumed (quite mistakenly) that I must be into S&M. It turned out to be a dreary, unpleasant, even painful experience, and although I am one of those people who will try anything, there was just something about those awful nipple clamps, the handcuffs, etc. that just plain turned me off. My dick was hopelessly flaccid, and that young guy was so disappointed. At one point he said “You don’t like me, do you?” which really wasn’t an accurate statement of the problem.

What ultimately salvaged the evening happened the next day at the library’s front desk as I recounted my tale of woe to you and another librarian. You were cackling with evil laughter and egged me on, plying me for sordid detail after sordid detail. And then, all of a sudden in the midst of my story, the Head Librarian came zooming in — literally running, with a distinct look of near-panic on his face — as he made a beeline for the front desk, whereupon he reached out his arm and slammed the switch on the paging microphone. Someone had left it on, and my less than excellent adventure had been broadcast to everyone in the library at the time.

I remember getting a couple of strange looks, and one guy had an unmistakable cruising look as we made eye contact. And what could I say? All I had been doing was airing my sexual complaints about not being into S&M. Hardly seemed especially incriminating, but obviously, shutting off the microphone had to be done in the interests of professional library protocol. (I suspected the Head Librarian was secretly amused.)

***

The Last Temptation of Me

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