Thursday, September 11, 2008

rhetoric


Unbreakfasted, I had a jones for food porn this morning...so, of course, I headed over to The PPK. Mmmm, PPK. Mmmm. I wanted pictures of saucy barbeque tempeh and roasted everything and great heaps of quinoa.

I didn't want conflict. Of course, I found it. Urgh. Unappetizing.

Toodling through, I ran across a link to someone else's blog. He's a dad, and he writes a lengthy treatise about the high instance of "kid hating" in the vegan community. It sparked a, um, heated debate. There's a lot of name-calling, holier-than-thouism on all sides, and even the obligatory attack on someone's mother. It's a fracas.

It made me think rather seriously about the vegan community, and my place in it. I've been trying in earnest, lately, to find a foothold in it - and it's not going well. There are so many criteria! In my engagements with other vegans so far, I feel like I'm presenting a resume. It's exhausting.

I'm not raw, nor will I ever be. I wasn't raised vegan. I wear leather things that I bought before I was vegan, most notably my motorcycle gear. I'm not an anarchist. (Why is that even an issue?) I ride horses, and would like to do so a lot more often. When I'm working, I must eat out every single day, and the restaurants production orders from are never vegan. I don't make a habit of checking my beer and wine for veganness. My cat is not a vegan.

I've got my own issues and contentions, of course. After much mulling and research, I don't believe that lacto-ovo folks can use the term "vegetarian" to describe themselves - and I'm currently deciding if, considering our universal and pervasive dependence on fossil fuel, anyone is truly vegan. At work, I'm wearing thin on defending my veganism to every new team I work with (and, in commercial production, that happens a lot.) And I'm also wearing thin on hearing folks defend their own lifestyles back at me, rather retort-style, as though I've inherently questioned their ethics through simply living my life as I choose to. I'm just vegan; I don't always feel like talking about it, though I feel that I must do so when asked. I fuss at myself sometimes that my responses aren't ironclad enough, and that the facts and figures don't roll effortlessly off my tongue, and that my questioners are mysteriously determined not to hear it anyway.

As for hating kids - gosh, I don't hate kids. I'm just never going to have any, and I don't like spending more than a couple of minutes around them. If that makes me a bigot - well. Fascinating.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

wildlife


Before I got home last night, Eric took a walk - and smelled goats in the Grand water court.

He investigated further, and discovered that the hill by Angels' Flight is currently populated by a herd of brush-clearing goats. They're keeping them there 'round the clock, behind chain-link fences warning (skull-and-crossbones-style) of the goats' poisonous coats. Last I checked, this was not a logical deterrent to the homeless population...but whatevs.

He took me to see them last night. We scrabbled down the steep sidewalk to view them, eventually landing at the top of the far-side entrance to the metro line.

When we arrived, great herds of animals were gathered there - a hill full of sleeping goats on one side and a sidewalk full of stirring rats on the other, watching their new neighbors curiously and yakking quietly about them amongst themselves. It was a transfixing sight.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

summer's end


I.

You're walking slightly ahead of me, as you've been for twelve miles. It'll be another eight (and change) until we collapse, salt-streaked and pack-bent, back into the car. I've been watching you swat this onslaught of gnats for hours as we climb; watching the black soil dust your ankles and calves like cocoa. I worry for your exposed skin. The poison oak is always thick in this canyon, and it's turned the warning-sign crimson of late summer. I'm so hungry that I swear I can smell the deli sandwich buried under the sleeping bag I don't realize I've been carrying in vain. I listen to the owls and the bugs and the talksome birds - and the occasional helicopter, but that's the way of it up here. My mind is full of plans and memories and account balances and think-I'm-gonnas. I watch your hands, and your step, and the backs of your shoulders, and marvel again at what we've built.

II.

It's going to be impossible to find the shirt in this brown-water river, but we're laughing anyway; we'll just have to go back to Thailand and get you another one. We float together past the bespoke backyards of the Bakersfield elite, your long body rolling easy over the end-of-season bumps in the water. On the boat, our cologne-commercial-beautiful nineteen-year-old river guide makes up ludicrous stories about the landscape to pass the time - Vietnam and the Mayans figure in here. Boulders roll under the boat, sliding underfoot like schools of turtles, bucking and bouncing and eliciting delighted shrieks from us womenfolk. You men roughhouse and knock each other in, all play-growls and bravado and dunking. You drive two more hours to bring us home, all quiet and smiling.

III.

It's been such a long time since we've had a night like this - a table full of friends, and pizza, and Red Hook, and wandering around the beloved neighborhood that's suddenly new because it's (essentially) new to everybody else. It's pints and laughter and feeling out the deeper limits of the conversation. And more pints. And more laughter. And forcing people to play video game themes on an the guitar. And telling stories that you, like, totally wouldn't tell otherwise. And, in the process, solidifying something between different-but-the-same people.

IIII.

The summer's over now. Bring on the fall. It's going to be a good one.