Perspective on Others
by Martin Rich from Metropolitan Learning Center
Published in the 2007-2008 WITS Anthology I Once Was Young and Strong

Walking up to the corner of Ainsworth and MLK Avenue shows so many choices. Walgreens pharmacy, Safeway grocery, Starbucks coffee, and my favorite Popeye’s Cajun chicken and biscuits. One night I was in the mood for a catfish po’boy. I slapped on some headphones, because I find that it is the best way to find myself. On this short seven-block walk I like to think I am changing the world by what I am thinking. The next thing you know I’m at my favorite corner. I take two crosswalks to get to my destination. I am stopped by a man in dreadlocks and bloodshot eyes. He asks me for a dollar. I am usually generous in these situations: I open my wallet and hand him a Washington. He sees an opportunity. He asks for more. I am outraged. “Is that not enough?” I thought to myself. I walk away. I faintly hear “God bless.” I walk into my favorite Cajun establishment, take my order and my seat, and it hit me: He needed more, and I had more. Whether he was going to buy a bottle of water or a crack pipe, he needed more and I had more, but I didn’t give it to him.