Snoopy People Drive Me Nuts
At a restaurant with acquaintances, or ordering lunch with coworkers, I hate it when I request a vegetarian dish without the cheese or eggs or other animal products and, inevitably, someone has to ask why I eat the way I do. I realize that sometimes genuine curiosity is afoot, but even when the intentions are the best, the plain and simple fact is that when I am having a meal, I just want to sit back, relax, and enjoy it. I don't want my dietary choices to be made the center of attention; I'd just like for them to be taken in stride. And when the intentions are more confrontational, I really start to get annoyed. Admit that I'm a vegan, or even a vegetarian, and suddenly I am expected to provide a thoroughgoing defense of Why I Think People Shouldn't Eat Meat, or, worse, listen to the inquisitor's thoroughgoing defense of Why People Should Eat Meat and Why Vegetarians and Vegans Are Really Screwed Up People.
Why do people think that a simple statement of beliefs is an open invitation to defend and debate? Why do they think I give a damn about their opinions of my choices?
It's not only with veganism and vegetarianism that I've experienced this. Occasionally, upon learning that I am an atheist, someone will feel compelled to ask me to explain myself, arguing with me in a challenge to defend the basis of my atheism to their satisfaction, or else concede that my belief (or lack thereof) is foolish and ill-founded and bound to cast me into the fiery pits of hell.
Honestly. If I had said, "I'm Lutheran," and they were not, would they have expected me to give an exposition and defense of Luther's Smaller Catechism?
Having settled to my satisfaction that a given path is one I wish to follow, I prefer to just follow it, not constantly have an arsenal of supporting arguments within mind's reach when confronted in a cafe or a grocery store or at work. I don't usually mind giving a simple informational statement about what I believe -- though I often wish people could be a little less nosy and just let me live my life instead of expecting me to constantly explain it -- but as soon as someone wants to argue with me, I just want them to go away and leave me in peace. If they want to know the merits of my chosen path, there's plenty of reading material out there. If I happen to be inclined to discuss the whys and wherefores of veganism, or atheism, or what have you, fine and dandy, but if I'm not, please just let me go about my day without further hassle.
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