I saw a rather unusual sight when I went into town.
Along Princes Street one passes a variety of peculiar folk. As you go up, dipping in and out of each shop, you collide with students who spend their energy promoting charities, street performers doing a headstand in a bucket and see a fair number of homeless people selling Big Issues or sitting against the wall.
The world walks past and feels sympathetic to their situation. Yet hardly anyone ever drops a coin. After all that dog lying beside him with its protruding ribs makes you rather uncomfortable and scared. Maybe it will jump up, paw you and bite you. Then there are those who have ferrets, fast, wily creatures who manage to crawl everywhere.
No, you’d do better without that. You veer away and avoid proximity to prevent the unknown from happening.
But what if the animal sitting on the man is not a dog, a ferret or a dog-ferret. What if it’s a cat?
A domesticated creature. Elegant, midnight blue and poised on his knee, the only one of its kind in the middle of a bustling town. The man strokes its velvet fur. A very homely sight outside a redundant HMV.
Aw, you say to yourself. That man must be a nice man and cats are lovely wee things. I want to stroke it too.
Before you know it, one person has stepped out of the current and journeyed towards a wall to pat the cat. This woman interacted with the homeless man via feline counterpart and dropped not one, but two pounds into his hat.
What difference a small animal can make to the norms of the high street and the stereotypical image of a homeless man. Will I witness more of this in the future?