My date and I watched a speeding car run over a stray cat: 'That was cool,' he said

Tracey Folly

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.

Once upon a time, I had a close friend named Bobby. He wanted our relationship to be a little more romantic, and I was fine with remaining close friends. Nonetheless, we went on several super casual dates per week, until the night we watched a speeding car run over a stray cat, and he said it was 'cool.'

My friend/date and I were walking down the street, enjoying a lovely evening together when suddenly we heard a loud screeching sound. We both turned to look and saw a car speeding down the road with a stray cat in its path.

It was a horrifying sight and our hearts sank as we watched the helpless creature get knocked over by the car. But then, to my surprise, my date actually said, “That was cool.” At first, I couldn’t believe it.

In the midst of all the chaos, the sickening sound of screeching brakes, and the poor cat’s cry, my companion had the nerve to say, “That was cool”? I could feel my face flush with anger and my heart starting to race as I stared at him in disbelief. I wanted to yell at him, to berate him for his insensitivity, but I just couldn’t find the words.

It took me a few moments to regain my composure, and when I did I asked him what he meant by “That was cool.”

He told me that he was impressed with the speed and agility of the car, and how it managed to maneuver around the oncoming traffic so quickly. He also said that he was glad that the driver had the skill and reflexes to avoid causing a worse tragedy by hitting a person crossing the street instead of an animal.

I still wasn’t pleased with his statement, but I began to understand his point of view. He was right; it was a display of skill and reflexes but at the expense of a living animal.

I looked for the cat, but I couldn't find it. If I'd been able to find the cat, I would have brought it to the vet to see what could be done. Unfortunately, the cat had sprinted off into an alley, which was hopefully a good sign.

After a few moments of contemplation, I realized that my companion's remark was more a reflection of our world’s desensitization towards violence than actual cruelty or callousness. We moved on from the incident and continued walking home, but the observation stuck with me.

Later that night, I dreamed about the poor cat flying into the air after being struck by the car, and I wondered whether I had tried hard enough to locate the creature after the incident. I wish I had done more.

Perhaps if my companion had offered to help me find the cat instead of referring to the horrible incident as 'cool,' we could have found it. After that, I lost the urge to maintain our friendship. We wanted different things anyhow. So I thought it was best for us to go our separate ways.

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Ordained Minister, Universal Life Church

Massachusetts State

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