Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Meat Anxiety

I’ve been a vegetarian (I think it’s weird when people say “practicing vegetarian, as if it’s something you try to get better at through repetition) for about 20 years.

Occasionally, during that time, I’ve had a bite (or more) of meat; I don’t think of myself as a fanatic or anything; it doesn’t bother me if other people consume animals; (I even happily grill a steak for the kid); and while I do believe that there’s an ethical dimension to our consumption practices, I can’t really see on what grounds it can be very wrong to eat a cow or pig that has been raised humanely and slaughtered as painlessly as possible (factory farming practices are another matter altogether); in short, my vegetarianism is more a matter of personal taste—I never really craved flesh all that much, seeing hot dogs and hamburgers, for instance, mainly as condiment carriers, a function that Gardenburgers and soy franks do just as well—than it is a moral decision, and I’m sure that if I lived in a place or a way that required me to get my protein from dead animals, I’d have no problem with it whatsoever.

So it’s weird to me that I occasionally have these dreams where I find myself eating meat, wondering why I’m doing so, and then sort of accepting it only to awake—sometimes literally, sometimes in the dream—feeling kinda sick and kinda sick of myself.

Like last night, I was at some table outdoors and there I was chomping down on like five or six breakfast links; I could taste the chewy pork and the little fat globules that give the sausage its consistency. And I remember thinking, “Why am I doing this? Shouldn’t I be eating soysage or something?”

Then, I was pouring off like eight ounces of grease into a Pyrex measuring cup; it was golden brown and smoking; right then is when I remembered I don’t eat meat.


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