When it comes to discussing work on this blog, I try to follow the old Internet adage of "Be ye not so stupid." (a doocery, perhaps?) This is fine by me. Typically, nothing much happens and my fellow employees are good folks who drink a lot of crappy coffee and are mildly amused by the daily useless fact I post outside my cubicle. (Today's: Jupiter's moon Io has over 300 volcanoes.) But this issue has been bothering me is a way much akin to an itchy tag in a new garment. I might as well bring it up in this forum as an attempt to cut out its irritation on my psyche.
Theoretically, the following scenario could happen anywhere. Or, at least any place where people routinely congregate for hours on end; just as long as it was a place where people come together with familiar strangers on a daily basis. It has nothing to do with my j.o.b. It has very little to do with the well-caffeinated cohorts on an individual level. My point, I hope, has very little to do with the event itself and more to do with how we treat one another in social situations. So I'll give this one a go, and hope for a modicum of success.
Last Wednesday, one of my co-workers parked her car in the on-site parking lot. After a few minutes upstairs in her cubicle, someone from the smokers' crew informed her that her car was meowing in the most terrible way.
Recently, this lady had been pleased by her two newly acquired kittens. They were to help as mousers in her rural property in a town named after a local volcano. One kitty had crawled up into the engine block. The cat was very much alive, and very cute, despite the fact that one of its front legs had been partially amputated. By which I mean to say that part of its leg was completely missing, but the entire appendage was not lost. It was a gruesome injury, and there was quite a bit of blood in a non-hemorrhaging sort of way.
I do not brag McGuyver-like veterinary skills, so I knew I would not be able to cauterize the bleed with a Bic lighter and a staple remover. But I also knew that the kitty would bleed to death if someone did not do so within the hour. I thought it was quite an intrepid little feline to have survived being mangled and to balance itself in the engine block of a vw bug for a 30+ mile commute. I was sure it could probably live a pretty decent life as a three-legged cat.
The woman was understandably shaken up. She called her husband (he was home sick with the flu) to figure out what to do with the cat. She spent quite a while deliberating. Several co-workers stepped up to the plate: they would help the lady take her kitty to the Dove Lewis emergency animal hospital. When the woman voiced concerns about financing a visit to an emergency clinic, one man even offered to cover the expense up to $5000.
But the lady decided that an emergency clinic would not do. She decided to make the return trip to her home 30 miles away in order to pick up her husband before bringing the cat to her local veterinarians office. The cat did not make it to the vet.
Now, almost a week later, people are still talking about this kitten incident. Perhaps I bear the brunt of the gossip because of I am situated between the office supply cabinet and the fax machine. This, oft to my chagrin, seems to be the prime place for folks to shoot the breeze. Or perhaps they are drawn in by the trivial ditties on my whiteboard (Friday's: Queen Elizabeth I was obsessed with her hands.) and feel that I might be perceptive to their commentary. It could be that I have developed a talent for listening.
People have come to me with a barrage of complaints against the woman. Mostly these people are critical of how she handled the situation. Inevitably, they bring up the issue of accepting help when it is granted, the financial obligation of pet ownership, or codependency. Everyone has some sort of opinion about the situation. It seems unprecedented in my work environs, but people are coming to me hoping for my hermeneutic viewpoints.
I am trying to remain neutral. Yes, I have very strong opinions about what it means to be a responsible pet owner. Yes, I wholeheartedly throw my hands up in celebration of independence. But is it really my place to critique this woman because I may have made a few different choices? Absolutely not.
When all is said and done, this event was purely an accident. This woman had to make a choice under trying circumstances. There was no black and white answer.