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(Coffee) Shop Talk

Welcome to the shop where I talk about things that go well with coffee, which is almost everything.

Just outside the Khan al-Khalili, a famous market area in Cairo, there is a cat trapped under the hood of a car. I know this because I passed it a couple of hours ago and stopped because of the crying. I thought it was under the car at first, but I checked all around and didn’t see it. The crying was too loud to be coming from anywhere else. I couldn’t figure out how to open the hood, and a kind-looking man who stopped to see what I was doing didn’t seem to realize what the problem was. The handful of Arabic that my friend knew wasn’t enough to explain the situation. Finally, with visions of mortified friends and the scene I would cause by shouting or trying to break into the car dancing in my head, I abandoned the cat. It was still crying, very loudly, as we walked away.

It is probably still alive. If no one opens the hood in the next few hours, this is what will happen: the owner of the car will come back. The cat will probably be too exhausted to make more noise. Even if it does, the driver will probably assume it’s just one of the myriad cats in the area making noise for some uninteresting reason. Either way, the driver will start the car, and the cat will die.

I feel like a criminal. If I’d been alone, would I have stayed? Made a scene until someone came and opened the car? Could I have gotten anyone to open the car, no matter how much of a scene I made?

There are so many cats in the world. I don’t have any responsibility toward that one in particular. Right?

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