I have to be honest about something, while I love living in this city, there are days that it’s an absolute drag. A New Yorker can witness some of the most inhumane acts from one day to the next; sometimes it’s hard to keep a positive and kind outlook toward my fellow neighbors. I’ve seen mothers and fathers smack their kids around as well as use profanity when speaking to their children. I’ve seen people steal, kick, punch, and shove fellow commuters who get in his or her way. I’ve seen fights break out on the subway. I’ve seen people ignored and abused when he or she lies passed out on a crowded subway train. Many people treat the homeless like actual garbage, they are merely annoying obstacles who are in their way. It’s hard living here. It’s wonderful most of the time, but it’s really hard too. But just when you think it couldn’t possibly get any worse and you’re ready to throw in the towel and walk off set, collectively, New Yorkers do something amazing and restore your faith in humanity.
Molly became international news last week as word got out that the 11-month-old cat had been trapped in a wall for many days. By the end of the ordeal, she would spend 14 days trapped between two walls before being freed. I was captivated by this story. I can’t deny it. Everyday, I’d check New York 1 to see if she’d been rescued. Every major news channel began to follow her ordeal. I saw the developing story on CNN as well as smaller papers such as The Centre Daily Times out of State College, Pennsylvania.
About a week and a half ago, when I first got word of the ordeal over at Gothamist, I told Tobyjoe about my (albeit simple) prediction. I knew that there would be backlash. People would step up and slander the city that has been criticized for turning its back on a little girl named Nixzmary Brown, but stepping up and taking such great care in the welfare of an animal. What troubles me the most is the fact that the relatives of Nixzmary Brown are now suing the city for their neglect. When was it the city’s job to take care of YOUR children? Where was grandma when she was being beaten? And most importantly, how did grandma raise such a careless monster? But I digress.
A lot of people are having a conniption over this story and how much coverage it actually got. And while the cynical voices haven’t diminished those that came together, the cynicism still troubles me.
Living in a city the size of New York can be frustrating. Our local news is constantly filled with some of the most horrendous acts. One woman might drop two babies conceived out of incest out her 3-story window and into the trash below. Another woman was kidnapped, raped, and then left for dead off to the side of the road. One boy was left to rot rot in a clothes hamper while his mother served a prison sentence on drug charges. Body parts turned up recently. They had been stuffed into a bag and then left on a subway track. One woman left her children soaking in a filthy tub while she listened to cds in the other room. The youngest drowned because of her neglect.
Because of the number of people who live here, New York has its abundance of demons. So forgive me for enjoying the human-interest story about a cat stuck in a wall and the fact that hundreds of people came together hoping to see her freed. Seriously, what could possibly be wrong with enjoying a story like that? When you’re faced with so much horror, what’s wrong with a happy ending even if a cat owns that happy ending? When did we become so jaded that we assume the news needs to be filled with horror?
The day we no longer find a story like Molly’s worthy of news is the day we lose our ability for greatness. It’s the small things, after all, that bring us together. This particular human-interest story, for me, was a breath of fresh air. And I hope that the little things never stop mattering.