A Study in Anthropology

June 05, 2013  •  3 Comments

Most people don't pay attention to the cat sprawled in the middle of a busy walkway in Parque Kennedy.  She's not, after all, the only cat who lives here; she's actually one of dozens that benefits from the kind souls who set out food at the cathedral.


But she is the only cat laying right in the middle of the walkway, and she also happens to have a beautiful cream coat and vibrant blue eyes.  The most attention she warrants from passer-bys, though, is a courtesy to walk around her.  Not more, not less.  Just another day.



But there are some exceptions, and the internal anthropologist notes:


1. A ~10 year old child strays from his family.  They walk to right of the cat, and he walks to the left.  He slows his pace, peering at the stationary cat, and then runs to catch up with his family.


2. An elderly couple parts like the Red Sea, though they keep holding one another's hands.  They stop for the briefest of moments when the cat is between them, look down, then keep walking.


3. An American (U.S.) family approaches.  From meters away, a ~12 year old boy says, "Look at this one.  He's almost dead."  (Why, oh why must Americans be so dramatic about everything?!)  The two younger sisters (~9 and ~7) slow their pace and sadly say, "Awwwww..."  Their mother scolds sharply, "Don't touch it."  And they keep walking.



4. Three late-teen local boys holding rubber bands approach (my guard goes up).  One stretches his rubber band weakly, and a second stretches his tautly, preparing to fling it at the sleeping cat.  Simultaneously, the third boy pushes him and I yell, "No No No!" in the deepest, most authoritative voice I have.  They are so engrossed in their scuffle that they don't notice me, but a man on a nearby park bench does.  The boys walk along now, laughing, oblivious to me, the man on the bench, and the cat.  I wonder what possessed one of them to even halfheartedly motion that he would fling a rubber band at a sleeping cat, and what possessed the second one to almost do it.  I am also grateful to his friend for having the courage to speak his mind even though it differed from the masses, so to speak.  


But mostly I wonder: would it genuinely have brought them joy to do such a thing?  Were they this way as children?  When did the disconnect appear, the loss of realization that the cat was a living creature and wouldn't enjoy being woken like that?  Did they know and not care, or did they forget?


Interesting creatures we are.


Photos were taken when the cat woke up and came to sit with me on the bench.  She let me cuddle her and I became happier because of this. <3






Every time you capture moments like this with your beautiful photo's and words, you touch my heart Monica.
Monica Szczupider
True, Curt! I have been guilty of the walk-by before. Things are never written in stone, least of all our behavior.
Curt Peterson(non-registered)
Very interestingly written and photographed. The same words might be written about a homeless person in a park, People passing by are known to do the same with humans. Very thoughtfully done, Monica.
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