An Anniversary

I kept my promise from my previous post to mention that there is an anniversary on the cards. It’s one of those where I can’t remember the exact date involved, but I think it was around about now – and it is worth celebrating!

Yes, roughly 10 years ago I became a vegetarian.

Not really worth waiting for, was it? Though I will never cease to be amazed at how many people are surprised when they find out I am one. I don’t exactly shout it from the rooftops. In fact, I don’t explicitly tell anyone. It’s entirely irrelevant. The only people who find out are those who put me in a situation where they ask the question. But I make that a lot easier because I’m a “proper” veggie, one who spends most of their existence making sure that things haven’t got gelatine in, or animal fats, or even been cross-contaminated. I am no fun to go for a meal with, you can be sure. Of course, it does mean I have a supply of facts about, for example, exactly what gelatine is at my fingertips. Which makes for endless conversation… and the subject can quite easily come up if I suddenly tell a friend not to buy me a pint of Fosters, because it isn’t vegetarian.

But I genuinely don’t understand why people care so much. I don’t want to tell them because the conversation bores me. Once people find out they then start quizzing me as if they have never heard of anything so ridiculous. You then get the usual hilarious person who will start stuffing some beef up their nose or something to demonstrate just how much they love a bit of the meat. Some people will move onto the smart-Alec questions such as “but what about the spiders you eat in your sleep?”… while others, particularly Americans, love to ask “But where do you get your protein?” – as if it is only possible to get protein from eating meat.

A lot of people are vegetarians now. And in fact, it’s incredibly easy to be one. But it always disappoints me when people say, “I couldn’t live without meat!” It just shows such a lack of imagination. They ask, “But a meal isn’t complete without a bit of dead animal!” OK, I exaggerate the last bit. But I suspect that if they were forced, they too would actually not find it difficult to survive without.

I am no zealot. I don’t care that other people eat meat; it’s not my mission to convince them. But I dislike people who question something which is entirely my own decision. I can understand people being curious, and I’m happy to share my thoughts with them, as long as they then don’t try the things I’ve heard a million times before. As Tom Jones almost sang, it’s not that unusual!

But by far the worst of them all was when a friend of mine told me that he utterly disagreed with my vegetarianism on religious grounds. He was/is a devout Christian, and apparently, vegetarianism is a sin because, after all, God put all these animals on Earth for a purpose. And that purpose was for us to eat them. I thought he was joking. But he delivered it with deadly seriousness that it didn’t warrant further questioning, because both he and I knew each others strongly held views about religion, or the lack thereof in my case.

I’m very proud of my vegetarianism, but not so much that I feel the need to tell everyone about it. It is just another piece that makes up who I am. I can never see myself not being one. But it’s just so routine and ordinary to me that it’s now very trivial. There are, of course, some horrible vegetarians – the type who’ll try to force their choice on others. They make it worse for all of us relatively “normal” people out there. Just get on with it. We’re all individuals.

And yes, I do appreciate the rich irony of spending a whole post talking about my vegetarianism when I’ve just claimed I keep it to myself. So here endeth the lesson.

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