[13 January 1998, Tuesday, ~12:45 pm] In deed, if not in word

English: Graffiti in the Tenderloin, San Francisco

English: Graffiti in the Tenderloin, San Francisco (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Rodney’s teaching me something.  Spending nights out on the prowl with him, I am having to confront over and over the prejudices I hold.  His feud with his friend, Patrick, has reminded me that in some ways, I am unfortunately not as enlightened as I would pretend.  His friend, Patrick, would sterilize all rednecks, and — literally — put all beggars and bums to death.  Patrick’s boss, Michelle, the owner of the coffee shop where we congregate late into the night, “just” thinks they should ship all bums  away somewhere, though perhaps not kill them out right.


My views are neither so extreme, nor so dark.  I believe in principle that I should love everyone; Rodney actually seems to put this into practice.


Specifically, I’m thinking of the homeless souls we encounter while on our photographic jaunts together.


In my fear of the Other and of being taken advantage of, I project not love but a callous indifference.  Contrary to my principles, I negate their very humanity through my negligence.  I am, in other words, prejudiced in deed, if not in word.


While Rodney and I are out roving, I look to him to see how I should act.  After all, he knows these downtown streets of night better than I.  When street people approach us, which happens regularly everywhere we are, I look sideways at him for clues: is this one genuinely in need?  Is he helpless?  Is he full of shit?  Or are we in danger now?


It’s like being with Greg in San Francisco: I feel helpless, new-born.  That night with Greg, I ran, genuinely afraid, through the Tenderloin and back to the safety of Tapestry’s second floor apartment in the Haight.  Now, I am out for a leisurely “stroll around the block,” safe on deserted Memphis streets and back alleys, shielded from any real harm by Rodney’s spirit and idealism.


Je ne suis pas d’ici.





  1. ricklamplugh said,

    September 21, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    Hey Jim,

    I really liked your most recent post about prejudiced *in deed, if not in word.* ** *I like the depth of your sharing, your honesty.* ** *Uncle Rick*

    *Preview Chapters of Forthcoming Book* *In the Temple of Wolves* at:http://ricklamplugh.blogspot.com/

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rick.lamplugh

    • greenfae said,

      September 21, 2013 at 1:50 pm

      Thank you. Writing daily is the goal. I’m coming along.

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