V is for vegan, and it is for victory. I know I have sworn to not prattle on about veganism, but I am proud of myself today, so prattle I away….
Today there was a team lunch for a couple new team members who are joining. At first, we were going to Room 39, and I was very excited about that, because I am anxious to try it, especially if my boss is paying. But yesterday the decision was made to go to Gates BBQ instead. As soon as Gates came up in discussion yesterday, everybody swiveled their heads to me. A couple of them had that look that is a mix of pity and apprehension, as in “Don’t ruin this for everyone by saying there isn’t anything for you to eat there.”
For the record, I have NEVER EVER EVER said boo about not eating somewhere to a friend or coworker because there isn’t anything for me as a vegan, or even a vegetarian, to eat. I HATE to be a kill-joy, and I don’t like to call attention to my different eating habits because I hate the uncomfortable questions, especially with coworkers, that are brought up. Now, with my mom or DH I often will ask to go to a restaurant where I can get a decent meal, but that is different – they have to always love me.
Now Gates is a particular challenge for me. I became vegan because I felt it was the right ethical choice for me. I, unfortunately, do not have an aversion to meat or cheese or even milk. Likewise, I do not drool uncontrollably when someone eats ice cream or ribs or cheese in front of me – because I am not a cartoon character. At times, sure, I wish I could eat a cheeseburger – sometimes nothing in the world sounds better than that to me. I ate meat and dairy for 30 years, and liked it all that time. But, again, it is a choice – my choice. Back to Gates. It is an institution in my family. We went there almost every week when I was growing up. The staff at the one on Paseo knew us all by name. When they first opened, they kept a bottle of ketchup behind the counter for my dad, since he liked having ketchup and they used to not serve it. I love Gates – I love the institution of Gates. And I miss having the affiliation with Gates that goes with eating at their restaurants. It is like being a Royals fan but not allowing oneself to watch baseball anymore. PLUS! I love, love, love, love, love Gates potato salad.
In the past couple years, when I have been a quite imperfect vegan, I would get something vegetarian (but not vegan) at the restaurant that would be filling and avoid people thinking me extremely odd. One of the good and bad things about me is that I will do almost anything to keep a social situation from being strained or akward. I am the person who changes the subject when politics comes up. And if my mother-in-law offers me a piece of cake, I take it. But with my new vegan gusto, I am trying to return to the vegan I was a couple years ago – the one who still avoids hot-button topics, but declines the piece of cake, darn the consequences.
To the victory, I said no to the potato salad, I withstood the jokes, jeers, and concerned questions about only eating fries and pickles (my options at Gates). And the fries were really good. This was my first tough test with my choice since my recommitment. Yay me!
So that there is a list…
(list 62) What I miss most as a vegan
1. Not having to preplan social events and meals out to figure out if I need to eat first.
2. Barbeque restaurants
3. Crab rangoon
4. Cheese enchiladas
6. Coach purses
7. Being able to easily buy chocolate
8. Ice cream
9. Stinky cheese
I don’t miss any of it enough though to stop making this choice. In fact, looking at that list, I truly don’t want any of it. It is an every day choice – it never will be completely easy, but it gets easier – and today was a small victory in that direction.