Welcome to Perspectives, a blog of thoughts, commentary and observations ranging from autistic adolescents to intimate portraits of urban communities.


You Know You See Me

My last post hit a chord with many readers, whose responses were so varied and so thoughtful that I think they deserve a post of their own. In fact, two posts. I also urge you to read John Kirkpatrick’s comment on the post, which is at once too long to excerpt here and too good to miss. Here, excerpted and shortened, is a sampling of responses.

• I really like this.  The act.  The thought process.  The decision.  The commitment.

• Years ago, I stopped along Haight Street to give a man sitting on the sidewalk a dollar or two. As I walked on, another guy – passing me briskly – said: "All you're doing is helping that brother stay drunk." So much for my feelings of generosity. Instead, I started giving to the Haight Ashbury Food Program that served hot lunches.

• When I asked my friend, Linda, why she gives so frequently to folks in the street, she simply said, “Because you never know which one is Jesus."


• This reminds me of a conversation I had with my sister a few years ago in Cape Town, where homeless people are a lot more prevalent and much more in your face with requests for money. For many of us, it’s a constant struggle how to act. The topic came up while my sister and I sipped a latte. “Imagine, if instead of handing that person some coins,” she said, “you bought them a latte – or better yet, you bought two lattes, one for them and one for you – and sat there and talked to them for 15 minutes."

It’s always ourselves we find in the sea*

Giving Very Small