Greensboro’s brush with viral fame broke on Monday: A guy had been secretly living in a UNCG student’s closet, without her knowledge or permission. She told reporters she thought she had a ghost, until she found him sitting in there, wearing her clothes.
By Tuesday afternoon, word of Closet Guy had spread from Tate Street to Walker Avenue and beyond, and everybody, it seemed, had something to contribute.
My art director said he 86-ed the guy from New York Pizza for bringing in his own booze. My editorial intern believes the guy stole her mother’s boyfriend’s guitar. Trent says the guy hasn’t been allowed in Common Grounds since that thing over the summer.
Some in the cultural underground are calling BS on the whole thing, saying that the student had to be aware of the guy living in her closet, that he was exercising some form of squatter’s rights until she finally called the cops to get him out.
But I think I believe her story.
For one, junkie ingenuity can border on true genius. I believe Closet Guy had a key — or, at least, ready access to the space. I piece together from news reports that he probably waited each morning for the student to leave, then slipped in when he knew the place was empty. He stayed in the closet because it was snug and dark during the brightest hours of the day; perhaps the smell of clean women’s clothes evinced a sense memory in him, allowing him some comfort as he slept off the evening’s sins.
It’s no big thing to live in a closet. Ray Ray lived in a closet for the entire summer of 1994, a hallway walk-in big enough to accommodate his mattress, some shelves and a little light. For this space, he negotiated that he be exempt from rent but would pay a third of utilities in the otherwise two-bedroom place.
But Ray Ray always played the long game. Closet Guy clearly didn’t think this one through.