feeling normal

today before a faculty meeting, my husband brought me a peppermint ritter sport (insert drooly emoticon here). one of my colleagues said, "is that a ritter sport?" and i said yes, but then continued (of course) to elaborate on the virtues of the very-hard-to-find and very delicious peppermint ritter sport. this led to the explanation of how, when i went vegan, i made peace with the fact that i would never again eat a peppermint ritter sport, only to eventually learn that they’re vegan, and so on and so forth.

anyway, that in turn led to a second colleague asking me how long i’ve been vegan, and some follow-up questions… while a third colleague read the ingredients on my ritter sport and asked how i felt about the "may contain traces" disclaimer so often found on food labels. this happened with probably about ten or so people in the room, and i’d guess we talked about it for maybe five minutes.

it didn’t occur to me until two minutes ago that it was such a pleasant conversation–almost like a NonEvent. i have a few colleagues who like to make "meat jokes" sometimes, almost like they can’t help themselves, but none of that happened today. it was almost as if someone had asked me what textbook i was using, and how long i’d been using it, and what i thought about it–just a Totally Normal Conversation with no drama and no feeling like the weirdo outsider.

i wasn’t self-aware enough at the time to be happy about it, but now i am. yay colleagues!

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3 comments

  1. That’s awesome! It is great when we’re not made to feel like freaks. I have a coworker who will even make the effort to make vegan goodies for me. She’s really interested in vegan baking, and of course I encourage that. It is also really helpful to have someone to give vegan cupcakes to. I enjoy making them, but I *will* eat them all if I don’t give them away! lol. She appreciates it, and makes me some goodies in return. Lovely! Culinary activism, isn’t it?
    Maybe this is the start of a Normal Vegan Era or something! Though I think I’d miss not being able to wear my freak badge. :p
    (I’m actually wearing a vegan freak t-shirt right now. lol)

  2. It is interesting how, up to this point, if we’re with people who don’t know us well and they find out we’re vegan, we’re an event; a curiosity; an ambassador from another culture – in the flesh! I’m only half surprised no one’s asked if they could touch me.
    Then the interviews…the usual questions, which, in most instances, we dutifully answer; the “challenge” questions…we know they’re coming…will they be polite and a springboard to a fulfilling conversation…or will we be stuck with tne skeptical, stubborn, know-it-all wiseacre?
    It is nice when our veganism is, as you put it, a non-event – among non-vegans! It’s even nice to read about something vegan in a mainstream publication, without some side comment from the writer like “so she probably wouldn’t approve of the steak I’m eating.”
    Deb may be on to something; we may be on the cusp of veganism being ho-hum. No big deal. No stereotypes. No “it sounds impossible.” Ok, maybe we’re not quite there yet. But I did see Tofutti Cuties in a tiny redneck town, so we can’t be too far away.

  3. I enjoy those discussions. I get them a lot at the gym. I’m fairly muscular so that throws out the entire “you must have meat to get sufficient protein”. I always wear vegan name shirts at the gym.

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