Last week, my laptop broke. I took it to the Apple Store and decided to make a quick tour through the bookstore, to get a little present for my pregnant friend. One book immediately attracted my attention, “Bob, der Streuner: Die Katze, die mein Leben veränderte”. The cat looking at me from the cover was adorable and I was inclined to buy it. However, I don’t really like reading in German, especially translated things, because I think a lot of the original flavor is lost. Both by translating and by my misunderstanding of the German language.
Some ten minutes later, the same cat is looking at me. But from beneath an English title this time. I pick up the book, quickly scan it and see that it’s a true story. Hmmm, I usually either read science books or fantasy. I put the book back. After finally finding a present for my friend, I walk past the cat again. And realize it’s really THIS cat the story is about, as I see him sitting on the shoulder of a man on the back. He’s won me over. I have to buy the book, despite my promise to myself to not buy any more books!
It tells the story of a young man living on the streets of London, who meets and adopts a stray cat. This turns out to be a real turning point in his life. I’m not going to repeat the entire story, go buy the book! However, it really got me thinking. It’s over a week ago that I read it, but I’m still thinking about it. Even more surprising, that I feel inclined to write a blog post about it. After all, this blog is about academia, about science, maybe a little about me. But not about stray cats! Although admittedly, I like cats….
It is an eyeopener. I usually give something to people making music on the streets. But how often was that accompanied with a thought along the line of “why don’t you get a job”? Looks like that is way too hasty. These are all people with a story. Book author James Bowen and Bob were very lucky to meet each other and get to tell their story. But all these others trying to find their way on the streets – animal and human alike – also deserve a fair chance. I’ll start with a donation to the Blue Cross and a smile to accompany gifts instead of some not-so-nice-thoughts, maybe those little things might make a difference already.
I’m really grateful that James told his story, as I think it may be exactly what others need to also escape the streets. He and Bob have won my heart in any case.