Thursday, April 17, 2008

Mutable Menu

I saw pigs in a truck while driving to work this morning.

I see many trucks on my commute along I-287 every morning and afternoon. I normally don’t check the trucks out unless one of them is obnoxiously and dangerously cutting off cars that are a fifth of their size, which happens often enough. The sides of the trucks are usually emblazoned with company logos for supermarkets, soda, moving companies.

The body of this truck carrying pigs had no logos, just metal open slates for air. I knew there were animals in there and peered to see what kind. At first, I could only see the walls of the truck, nothing else. As I got right beside it and took a better look, I saw the backs and tops of heads of pigs. Immediately my stomach dropped and I stopped looking.

For a few moments, I imagined what would happen if I followed the truck and tried to stop whatever was going to happen. The pigs were pretty big so I guess they were going to a slaughterhouse. I thought about just tailing the truck to wherever it was off to and pleading (screaming and crying) with the driver to let me have them. This seemed impossible for a number of reasons. One, I doubt any business person and animal-owner would hand over their property to me and I wouldn’t be able to afford what a truck full of live pigs probably costs (although I would have no problem being able to pay for the pigs once they are turned into ham, bacon and chops; I’m pretty sure pigs are cheaper when they’re dead). Also, who knows where the truck would end up? I’m already late on my way to work. Finally, what good would it do? Let’s say the truck and I end up in some alternate universe where my hysterics persuades all interested parties to hand over the pigs to me. Then what? I take them home? The dog has 100 new siblings?

I did what was practical, convenient and less painful. I drove way past the truck and went to work. I thought about how there didn’t seem to be that many pigs in that one truck given how much meat I see in a supermarket. I started thinking about how many trucks have to travel everyday just to fill up the Stop and Shop in my neighborhood, let alone all over the world. It seemed incomprehensible, the number of animals and miles. I thought about how this is the first time in my life I’ve seen pigs in a truck. I’ve seen horses before but never pigs or cows or chickens or sheep. The animals being transported and killed are truly invisible but once they are dead, processed and package, we can’t escape it. We don’t have to because it’s ok once they are in the refrigerated section. Just another product to pick up like the cereal and toilet paper.

When I told Brian about my idea for Mutual Menu, I wanted it to be about how vegans, vegetarians and omnivores could happily coexist without anyone’s proverbial feathers being ruffled, no dish being questioned. I’d write about making chicken and tofu using the same recipe or how I was buying all my steak from Whole Foods now because it’s humane. I was so excited and happy! Everyone would get their cake and eat it too. Just as quickly as the blog was up, though, I stopped eating chickens and pigs and cows. Then I stopped eating the fishes. Now it’s been a while since I’ve bought cheese but I’ll still eat it in a restaurant. I once told Brian that maybe we’d have to change the name of the blog if I went vegan because then the menu wouldn’t be so mutual. As soon as I said that, I didn’t need him to point out the huge idea I was missing. I realized which way the mutuality could go. I’d be extending it the animals. I didn’t have to change the name. I’d just change myself.

Mutual Menu is giving away one copy of Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. To enter to win and for more details, please leave one comment here.

1 comment:

Sky said...

Beautiful, Joselle. May those pigs at least have a quick and painless death, and may you inspire many more people to change themselves as well.