Posts tagged ‘awkward situations’

09/18/2011

My roommate is a carnivore

by Moratoria

I ate brunch this morning.

I didn’t get any pictures because I was eating with my roommate and a couple of her friends, and I didn’t want to deal with the whole “why are you taking pictures of your toast and fruit with your iPhone?” thing. And it wasn’t too exciting of a brunch, either. I eat almost the same thing every Sunday, so eventually it’ll show up, I’m sure.

Full disclaimer: Most of my photos are going to be taken with my iPhone. Because lugging my SLR into the dining hall and commandeering the only place with good light would garner more than a few dirty looks. And for some reason I feel like the dining hall staff would kick me out. And I really don’t think you want to see university food in all its fully 12 MP glory, ’cause it ain’t gonna be pretty. So for food photographed there, it’ll be my iPhone. For most everything else, it’ll be my Nikon. I’ll try to take good photos regardless. And if people actually start reading this shit, I’ll probably suck it up and take it with me anyway. Just for you.

But anyway, because of the lack of photos, I bring you the first Awkward Situations That Happen In College When You’re Vegan post, Serious Business Edition: When your roommate is a omnivore. Mine is. My roommate is beyond an omnivore. She’s a carnivore, as is her entire family. They hunt. They fish. Her dad makes homemade jerky out of buffalo. She revels in her meat. She makes jokes about vegetarians. She does all the things that make me shudder. She’s a judgmental omnivore, the worst kind. She doesn’t just find it amazing that I can eat anything at all, she wonders what’s so wrong with me that I don’t eat meat. Is it awful? Imagine my horror when I realized her jerky made everything in the fridge smell like meat. And imagine the gag reflex that kicked in when I realized my water bottle smelled like nasty meat. Yeah, not good. (For the record, baking soda works wonders.)

I was petrified at first, because I knew she’d be one of those pushy meat-eaters who simply can’t comprehend veganism. Eventually I a) couldn’t hide it anymore and b) realized it was nothing to be ashamed of, so we had The Conversation. It was after she had been talking to about the last time she had been hunting. I couldn’t take it anymore. So I told her. She stared at me as I explained to her that no, I don’t eat any animal products. No, I wasn’t just going to go back to being vegetarian. No, it’s not just dietary, I am against using animals because I am against violence. And you know what? It felt fucking good to say it. Because being vegan is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, not ever.

It was uncomfortable for a while. Now, I just try to be civil. I try not to judge her for eating meat, although I do refuse to accept the hunting, since I’m vehemently opposed to violence in all forms. I try not to preach, because no one likes pushy people, although I will stand up for what I believe in if the situation arises. I struggle with this in most parts of my life, but just because you’re trying to keep the peace doesn’t meant that you need to be a doormat. Does she judge me for not eating meat or, GOD FORBID, any animal products at all? Definitely. Do judge her? Yeah, I’ll admit it, I do. Sometimes it’s awful, especially because we disagree on many, many things ideologically. Animal rights, environmental concerns, health and fitness, religion (don’t get me started on the I’m-Wiccan-She’s-Christian thing), feminism… the list goes on and on. I am very different from her, yet we’re living together for a second year because we’ve managed to work things out. She’s a nice person, despite all the meat-eating and animal-killing (did I really just say that?). Does it mean we have to be at each other’s throats over it all the time? No. We’re just different. And yes, eating meals with her is still a fiercely awkward experience.

You’ll always encounter omnivores, and yes, devoted carnivores, as a vegan. Some can be downright confrontational. But if you happen to be living with one, like myself, the best way to get through it is being open. Talk about it. Don’t be pushy, but do be firm. They’ll be receptive. Even my roommate is interested in how I eat and live, even if she doesn’t follow it at all. And if they aren’t, if they’re truly giving you shit about it 24/7, don’t be afraid to talk to someone. You don’t have to live with someone you’re entirely incompatible with, especially if they’re being abusive.

And hey, more carrots for you, right?

And I just looked at the dining hall menu tonight. There’s absolutely nothing to eat. Not even a baked potato. I foresee a salad in my future.

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