A friend and I have been thinking and talking about our status as vegetarians. We’re part of a friendship group that eats together frequently and we sometimes plan around our eating choices. Of course, I've also thought about this subject before but don't remember the marvelous way I'd formulated it. Dang.
I think a big difference between me and most vegetarians is that I don't personalize what I’m eating. Maybe personify is the word to describe what I don’t do. It’s kinda boring and maybe weird but I just don't have a relationship with the animal I’m not eating. Helpfully, I don’t personify the food as having a relationship with me either. If I were to bite into a veggie spring roll and discover that I’d been tricked, hoodwinked, bamboozled and led astray (or just grabbed from the wrong plate) into eating a chicken spring roll instead, I’d spit out the bite, rinse my mouth and never think about it again. I guess that for me, 'being a vegetarian' doesn't mean much about who I am. Instead, I'm just somebody who chooses not to eat meat.
In fact, I still cook meat for my family on occasion even though I don't have any desire to eat it myself. (Every few months, lamb korma sounds great but that’s about it) I know they enjoy meat and I believe my son needs meat in his diet so I just cook it and then I'm kinda done thinking about it. I don't know that there's any deeper meaning for me.
Because it’s not normative, my guess is that if you asked most vegetarians to list 20 things about themselves to give a stranger an idea who they are, being a vegetarian would be high on the list. There’s a chance that it would show up on my list, but probably only if I knew there would be meal at the end of the exercise.