Rebels with Cause
It’s shocking and embarrassing to recognize how long it has been since I wrote last. It’s like that email from a friend you’ve been meaning to respond to and the more you put it off the more difficult it is to write, until you just decide one day that either (a) the friendship must end since you clearly cannot face the embarrassment involved in writing an email response after x number of months or (b) you bite the bullet and write, hoping your friend won’t be too hard on you.
This blog entry is (b). Please accept my apologies for not writing at least one post per week lately, since that was my initial promise. So many things have happened since my last post. A lot of vegan/meat conversations and experiences were had. But I can’t really focus on just one to relate to you today, so instead, I will mention the common thread that joins all the conversations together. That is, I want to talk about why being vegan can sometimes lead to awkward situations.
Sometimes when someone mentions food, it’s actually an invitation for you to relate with them on a social level. The truth is, often for vegans, we can’t. Restaurant recommendations or favourite dishes to make are usually not appropriate for vegans and so we often wonder what to say. I’ve referred to this in past blog entries. However, lately I’ve been more comfortable to just smile and nod when I don’t know someone and they have just mentioned their favourite dish which involves meat, cheese, and more meat. The problem is, usually at least one person knows I’m vegan there and must “come to my rescue”, as it were, and remind me that I can’t just smile and nod because I am vegan and thus should not be discussing meat or dairy or egg dishes with the stranger. The somewhat neutral conversation becomes ten times more awkward and I generally blurt something I hope my comrade will appreciate, like “Italian prosciutto!”, and then politely excuse myself. My veganism seems to be getting quite a notorious reputation. It’s like the word that rears its ugly head any time someone so much as mentions food. The lesson for me is that food is an integral part of our culture and being vegan goes against that which is our culture… thus going vegan is much akin to not being able to speak English or observing a religious ritual that no one in North America has ever heard of. Perhaps vegans should just go back to where they came from! Canada is for culturally-conditioned Canadians… with English (and French) and hockey (and lacrosse) and Jesus (and god) and steak (and frites). Of course, I kid. But it’s good sometimes to recognize that veganism isn’t just a diet choice, it’s an affront to tradition and to the culture in which we were raised. It’s nothing short of rebellious. But this time, the rebel got it right.