I’m a fairly open-minded bloke. I actually like to hear differing opinions if they are well thought-out and can be communicated civilly. I typically refuse to argue a point because it doesn’t change anyone. As a rule, I don’t delve into politics often because they tend to divide. I like to think of myself as a uniter.
I live in the ultra-conservative southeast and I love it there. Recently I found myself preparing for a west coast trip. Before I left, a friend warned me about the liberal tripe I would be exposed to “out there”.
Surprisingly, I didn’t find IT. I supposed it is all in what you are looking for and what glasses you use to frame your view.
My lovely wife and I walked to dinner holding hands and there were other couples holding hands. Like us and not like us. We spoke to people – none of whom talked like us but we understood each other once they slowed down and we listened more intently. Both sides working a little but it really didn’t take much effort to facilitate conversation.
I was about to text my friend and tell him he was a paranoid idiot when IT happened! I was seated at breakfast and I became uncomfortable with a person nearby. The tables were too close together at this place and she was quite obviously different than me. We did not belong together. I considered asking the waiter to move me as she began giving her order. She was…
(OH THE HORROR!)
As she ordered her breakfast, I thought of many reasons why I could not be a vegetarian:
First, I really like meat.
Second, I’m not sure my family could put up with me if I ate only fibrous plants.
Third, the effort it took for her to make her dietary needs expressed is beyond my intelligence level. I only have to grunt and say “pig!”
Speaking of pig, I had three varieties on my plate within smell of her. The three divine pork food groups: bacon, sausage, and ham. Right there, on the plate beside her. Funny thing is, she didn’t ask to be moved or turn her nose up at me. She was so different, but she seemed to accept the difference. I had just shredded a piece of bacon with my teeth and gored a sausage as my next victim when she said hello.
“Why would this person of vegetable persuasion talk to me?” I wondered.
I responded awkwardly as I wiped the pig fat from my chin and what followed was a very pleasant conversation between meat lover and vegetarian. She didn’t seem to judge me for my meatness and I didn’t condemn her vegetableness and we got along swimmingly. We didn’t try to win the other over and I actually liked her even though I still prefer meat.
Could it be that vegetarians are people too?
Can I survive their difference although we may never agree on what a fork should spear?
Good thing I get to go back to the Southeast where meat is revered. But wait, I hear vegetarians are migrating everywhere because we haven’t found a way to close borders as effectively as we can seal minds yet. What will become of our narrow little worlds if we are all mixed together with people who are different than us?