April 04, 2010

on Polk Street, San Francisco

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Now, I don't think I've seen a guess the number of jellybeans in the jar contest since I was about 12 years old, but there it was -- a huge square jar of jellybeans and a sign announcing that a prize was going to be awarded -- $50 to the closest guess by a person 12 and under, and another $50 in the 12-and-up division.   And no, I didn't go inside and register my estimate, but I probably should have.

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

This was Thursday, and I had I found a great free parking spot on Bay Street near Fort Mason.   I thought it might be a good starting point for a little ramble on the streets of San Francisco.   I gravitated over to Polk Street and before long I was again marveling at this curious sign which seems to cover both ends of the spectrum.

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

While waiting to cross the street I heard someone calling to me in a soft but pained voice.   It was Roger, and curiously enough he didn't ask for the dollar bill I had at the ready to give away to any poor soul who asked.   What Roger wanted me to do was to go inside Liquor and Tea with the dollar he already had (he had three) and buy him a bag of sour-cream-and-cheddar potato chips.

I asked him why he couldn't just go in the store and buy them himself, and he replied that they wouldn't sell to him because "he was a bad person or something".   In any case, I bought Roger the chips, wished him well and continued on my way.

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

When I got to the other side of the street I turned around and snapped this photo of Roger sitting there with the bag of chips in his lap and a bottle of wine in a bag at his side.

It reminded me just how lucky I am to have escaped this same fate -- after all, I don't think I am any better than Roger in any sort of way.   Hell, years ago I was at those same depths of alcoholism, and I probably still have just as many loose-screws, and yes, I like sour-cream-and-cheddar potato chips too...

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Anonymous said...

hey, my screws are loose too. so they let roger buy the wine but not the chips ,huh?

i love your blog, especially the people pictures. and china town. and mt. tam.

happy easter don.

bonnye in west sacramento

gary said...

another great bit of tid bits. Who are we to judge. I like your compassion towards those less fortunate than us, and yes, their situation could happen to any of us. Keep snapping...regards

AphotoAday said...

HI BONNYE -- Yeah, I was wondering the same thing about where he bought the bottle of wine. I was more of a beer man, but If it was me (way back when) I would have had the bottle finished off before I even had a chance to sit down.

AphotoAday said...

AND THANK YOU TOO GARY -- You know I drove up Market Street on Saturday sort of keeping an eye out for the homeless schoolteacher, and there she was in nearly the same spot, but still sleeping, so I guess I'll have to catch her and get her story another day.

I did another brief walk-around in the Castro, but as I was parking a lady came over to my car and scolded me up and down about having my car radio turned up too loud -- she berated me for a good three minutes and I apologized as best I could, but I guess I'm not so compassionate that I don't sometimes step on someone's (or a neighborhood's) toes.

photowannabe said...

Compassion...it can come from your money or just taking the time to meet someone's need. I like that you had your money ready for anyone that needed it.
The kind gesture made me really feel good Don.

larry young said...

Great photos, great insights, and compassion add up to a great site! Love your work, Don.

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