Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Vegan MoFo Day 21: How the mighty...

My first - and likely only - transgression in my Million Seconds of Veganitude went a little something like this: One of the clients at work had a cake and offered me some. This was a cake that his girlfriend had brought him celebrating his 90th day clean. For those not as familiar with the AA/NA culture (as I was and still am - needless to say, I would never make uninformed remarks about it being "churchy" now), racking up 90 meetings in 90 days while fighting an intense physical and psychological addiction is (pardon) fucking hard. These men, these clients, struggle daily for their very selves with good humor and dignity. So when this client, who actually rubs me the wrong way more often than not, approaches me with a grin as wide as his face and a piece of cake from Safeway, I'm going to eat it.

Any thoughts on food values vs. social values?


herbstsonne said...

My thoughts (since you asked, otherwise I'd feel kinda awkward just, blabbing): it's not a food value (for me). It's an ethical choice/belief/stance/what have you. I wouldn't put aside my values concerning racism, sexism, etc., either. I wouldn't be a dick about it, but for me, it's not a choice of do I hurt this person's feelings or not. It's a choice of do I live my life in line with my ethics and what I'm striving to accomplish. I wouldn't laugh at a racist joke. So accepting the use of animals as products for human use, for me, unacceptable. And I get that you disagree, but that's where I'm coming from. :3

That said, this is a situation where rather than say 'Oh I'm vegan' I'd say, 'I'm really sorry, but I don't (or can't) eat dairy or eggs.' Perhaps it's safer, but that way I don't feel like I'm foisting a huge discussion on someone - it's just a statement of fact.

And THAT said, I think it's awesome that this person stayed clean for 90 days (especially after knowing someone who is in AA and what a huge huge deal it is). Thumbs up to him.

erica said...

Meg, I'm sure my "gee, I'm trying this vegan thing" episode must be at least a little infuriating to you, as I'm taking your belief system pretty lightly in all of this. It's a paradigm shift in progress, and I'm struggling with it. There are a lot of choices to be made surrounding animal products and their use. I mean, I'm knitting my brother a scarf out of wool. Do I go so far as to avoid animal haircut by-products or do I call that the end of it? There are some basic moral issues at stake, and I admire your unwavering stand. I'm not there yet, maybe because I'm still having trouble abstractly relating Safeway frosting to eggs (which is a stretch to begin with!)

herbstsonne said...

No I know...which is why I haven't really been like NARF LET ME TELL YOU HOW TO BE!!!! if something you say is different than how I am/do/etc. You just said any thoughts, so those were my thoughts. :3 I thought the issue you talked about was an interesting one...I wasn't trying to harp.

(Although if you want any information about the wool industry, you know my numbah!)

erica said...

uh oh. wool's unkind too? Damn it! not wool! NOT WOOL TOO!

And you're not harping at all. I'm trying to be open to how ridiculous I must sound to you. No sweat, buddy ole pal!

Vegan Knitting said...

I think that's a good example of a situation in which some vegans will react like herbstonne said, and others will do what you do.

For me, it really depends on the situation. I think in your particular example, if it was a really busy party, I probably would have accepted the slice, and then given it to someone else. If it was a smaller shindig, I would probably explain that I'm vegan and ask for a drink to toast his 90 days with. In a situation where there is a language or more complicated cultural barrier, such as being in another country, I might have even taken a couple of bites. It's hard to say.

I wouldn't have felt too bad if I did take a few bites. The rest of the time I eat vegan food and I don't purchase new animal products for clothing, body products, etc. and almost all of my knitting is vegan. So 3 bites of a cake where being part of the activity is really important is worth it to me.