Back in the ’70s, I was walking down a Boston street on a sunny fall day, feeling great. I had the whole day to shop, people-watch, go out to lunch, and anything else I wanted to do. I came to a crosswalk and joined the waiting crowd.
I found myself standing beside a tall and powerful-looking African-American guy, dressed from head to foot in black leather. To say he looked menacing was an understatement–he looked like trouble ready to erupt. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed something orange-y poking out of his turned-up collar, so I looked straight at him. Cuddled up in the corner of his neck and protected by his collar was a tiny orange kitten with a white chest and paws.
Before I could stop myself, I said, “awwwwwwwww–what a cute kitty!”
The man looked down at me and broke into a dazzling smile. He gently rubbed the kitten’s head and said, “Her name’s Ginger–ain’t she sweet?”
I told him about my own cat, and said that Ginger was indeed a sweet darling. While we stood there, he told me about how he had rescued her recently and how happy she seemed to have a good home. Animated, he told me all about the fluffy cat bed, litter box, special food and toys he’d gotten her and how much fun it was to have her greet him when he got home. We were so engrossed in cat conversation that people crossed the street several times while we stood there chatting.
Seriously, the man looked like he could bend steel girders with his pinkies, and there he was, gushing on about his new furry roommate. It was absolutely adorable and it made my day. Not only that, but it made me realize that you really cannot judge anyone by their appearance or demeanor. You just don’t know what is going on in a person’s mind, or what challenges they may be facing, or, in this case, what joys a person has to share.