Monday, October 18, 2010

A Day at the Park with a Bacon Eating Vegan

(Pictures to come)
This morning I walked to the park with my kids. As many of you know, I have no vehicle, and the walk took 30 minutes in a nice humid 95 degree morning. For Palm Springs, that's really nice. But I am blonde, and the sun doesn't do nice things to my head. So here I sit, waiting for the Advil to kick in... but holy God in heaven, was it worth it!
I met Elise there, with two of her 3 kids and her nephew in tow. We sat on a bench at this relatively new area of the park designated for small kids whose parents are terrified they will fall off the larger equipment. It was a cool little fenced in area with small, but not lame, playground equipment. And we both felt totally comfortable just sitting on the bench and letting the kids play while we pretended to be adults for a minute.
We talked about the kids for a good portion of the time, comparing notes and sharing advice is one of the most helpful things in getting together with other parents. It makes you not so terrified that your children are retarded in some way when you hear that other kids are also quick in some things and slow in others. For example, her 2 year old nephew speaks almost better than my 3 year old, but he can't walk more than 10 feet before having to catch his balance. We both figure it's because her sister carries him everywhere.
I was reassured that Tyler's slow speech and non-social behavior was very similar to the way her 5 year old daughter acted, and she's perfectly normal. I guess some kids would rather be left alone to play with toys rather than be showered with attention. I'm no longer really worried, he's got good eye contact, his vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds, he comes to me for affection and comfort. He plays and socializes with other kids, and he's getting better at sharing and working together with others.
Although I notice that after days like today, he turns inward, like he's done with being social for today. 

We were both really craving adult conversation. The kind that doesn't involve diapers and sleeping habits. That didn't happen until the ride home (Thank goodness she gave me a ride, the walk back would have killed me) Subjects turned to blogs, she has two. (Now THERE'S an idea) and one of them is a vegan blog. 
"You're vegan?" I ask, not knowing this tasty tidbit about my best friend of 30 years just kills me. 
"Well, not really," she replies. She goes on to explain that the vegan community doesn't accept you as a vegan unless you don't eat anything that has ever even seen an egg or milk product. Not cookies, crackers, bread products... whatever. But otherwise, yeah, she's pretty much a vegan.
I then go on to sheepishly say that maybe I shouldn't mention I had a New York strip and shrimp jambalaya last night, and my daughter's favorite food is bacon. She shrugged and said she eats bacon every once in a while. That made me snicker. My friend, the bacon eating vegan. I love that so much, I'm going to add it to my blog title.
There. Done.
That topic carried us on to why. Why my friend, are you a (bacon eating) vegan? Health reasons? Animal rights?
"A little bit of both." She tells me to watch Food Inc. (I think?) Which details the raising and preparation of food in the industry. 
Now this is where she and I differ. She's a little bit (a lotta bit) squeamish about slaughtering animals, even when it's done within the realms of sanity, safety and humane-ness. (Not a word... what ever) And although I am totally appalled when people take liberties against the animals that are our food, and think they have the right to be cruel, either for cruelty's sake or in the name of efficiency... I see it as, that's what we do, it's what we always have done. Animals are here for us to eat them, and the only thing wrong (besides cruelty against those animals) is that we are kept so seperate from our food source. We look at our nicely packages hamburgers and steaks, and can forget that it used to be a living, breathing creature.
I have no problem killing and cleaning an animal to eat. I've done it, it gives you a new appreciation for the things you put in your mouth. I wanted to raise rabbits a while back for supplementary food, and my husband said I couldn't name them. I told him truthfully, that wouldn't matter to me. If I thought he would taste good, I could possibly give him a try too.
She said she hoped when society collapses, she wants me on her side. I told her it would probably be a good idea.
I'm so glad that, even though we've turned out so fundimentally different, our decades long friendship is totally enough to bridge those gaps. And EASILY too, absolutely without effort. When this happens it's a beautiful thing.. constantly talking to people with the exact same views all the time is boring.
I'm really looking forward to next week's play date.


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