Today is my thirty-first day without eating meat, bar the accidental marshmallows I ate a few weeks ago out of ignorance.What follows on this is three short reflections:
Mixed emotions have accompanied my ‘breaking the news’ to friends and family. Nana was aghast. Most people ask firstly, why? So this is a good place to start. I don’t know if I know myself well enough to give a straight answer, however. The people doing the asking are in some cases more qualified to explain to me than I to them. There’s probably a multiplicity of reasons, but the multiplicity cannot even be summed up as some holistic singular reason against non-reasons. If I’m being pretentious or deceptive or attemptedly, failingly mysterious then think again. Because an interrogation of motives is always most closely viewed from the point of view of those who own the motives then this allows for an infinity of re-readings of the motives. Acknowledging the complexity of the issue doesn’t remove it either. Deciding on becoming a vegetarian, like love and Banjo Kazooie, transcends language.
The light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming slaugher-train
Lent last year was a kind of dress rehearsal. I gave it a go. But I forgot my lines. I laughed on stage. It would have been good if someone ‘lent’ me a hand, etc. Working at an Indian restaurant during the time I was awarded a Lamb Tikka Masala in accordance with some poor takeawayer’s failure to collect it. This was during Lent. On my way home I decided to freeze it for afterwards. Light. Home. Two more weeks: The end of the tunnel. Freeze it I did not, however. I started on the sauce. But I ended not where I had started. Every truant piece of slaughtered innocence found its way to my facial orifice as I sucked off all remaining sauce. Please admire the self-deception this required. That was it. I called up my good friend, Truth. “Hey bro, yeah, I finished the sauce”. He nodded. He told me what I knew. So I ate up the sauce-sucked, once-suckled, semi-carcass. Lent was over. And this is the failure of being vegetarian (or anything at all): You eat the sauce that surrounds the meat, and in doing so, eat the meat. It is an approximation, not an absolute.
Blessed are the pure in heart
‘Vegetarian’ is a socially-recognised category. I’m still figuring out how much exactly it is a betrayal to Christian values to do things according to what other people think. But the ‘according to what other people think’ doesn’t initiate vegetarianism, it only consolidates it, though it may have also some part to play in the former. Compare becoming a vegetarian to studying Mandarin. You can either be a vegetarian, which is in the vernacular for many, or a studier-of-Mandarin, which is no doubt interesting to many, yet it fails as a category. Another hidden category, the deceiver vegetarian, is alluring. You get the bonus of interesting responses from people who think you eat grass as well as spending rainy lonely afternoons in a cupboard actually eating fried cows, who actually eat grass. But the social-category, vegetarian as an identity, should do enough to secure against your own duplicity. It is the authentic feeling of telling someone you don’t eat cow, and in truth living up to that which helps maintain your living up to it.