I wrote about serendipity a couple days ago and had another wonderful experience of it today. I stopped at a brewery to sample a few beers and made the acquaintance of two gentlemen who are old friends, Dave and Michal. These two guys happened to have a little space at a table and were friendly when I asked if I could join them.
Both men seem like great people and Michal will likely be a helpful professional contact. I have been considering what new textbook to use for US History classes and Michal is almost certainly to be of great assistance in that endeavor. There's a real possibility that my future students will have a more beneficial classroom experience because of this chance meeting. All just a few steps removed from my choice to pick one table instead of any other.
I really like serendipity.
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.
I'm just finished with an interesting documentary about the history of beer brewing in the US. I know many of the broad outlines but lots of the specific details are fascinating. For instance, it wasn't until the 1970s that beer was consumed at pre-Prohibition levels. It took 40 years!
Hmmm, I think all this new information means I need to head to Oaken Barrel sometime soon.
This is one of the poems about which I've received the highest compliments. I think
many of us can relate to it in our own unique contexts.
I walked from the kitchen
Slowly stopped and turned around
The gentle bubble of pots on the stove
Sounded warm and beautiful
Inviting, so I went back in
Watching the lid dance over my soup
I noticed the dry, hot smell
Of cumin drowning in the sweet
Black juice of the beans
I felt the smile on my face
And wondered how many times
My granddad stood smiling in his kitchen
With the cornbread beginning to brown
© Gayle Force Press 2003
At lunch today I heard a 50 something talking to his family about the problem of high school students no longer being able to find jobs because of all the immigrants in the area. The comment was particularly galling to me because we were in an Indian restaurant! And unless this restaurant has a totally different personnel structure than it did two years ago, nearly everyone who works there is an immigrant. He did not seem to notice the peculiarity in his comments. My goodness.
My favorite breakfast place is a restaurant called Flapjack’s. They have amazing food, a mostly wonderful staff and a lively, boisterous atmosphere. They also serve Freedom fries and Freedom toast. Now, since it’s 2007 and the vast majority of Americans realize that the Iraq invasion was, uh, less than ideal, doesn’t it seem reasonable to expect that this restaurant would be done with the ‘Freedom’ substitute for ‘French’. If nothing else, couldn’t they call them Iraqi fries?
Okay, isn’t this peculiar? At Taco Bell, the historic home of the meat that dare not speak its name, one of the popular possibilities is a salad. I mean, if you need to eat salad at Taco Bell, isn’t there a problem?
I also wonder that McDonald’s fish sandwiches cost more than their double cheeseburgers. When I was a kid, double cheeseburgers were the gateway to adult sandwiches at McDonald’s. You had to be able to eat double cheeseburgers before graduating to quarter pounders or Big Macs. Now a filet of fish costs more than the gateway burger? I struggle to wrap my head around this one.
Perhaps best of all, veggie burgers at Burger King. (Do I even need to comment on this one?)