how I became vegan
Monday, March 1 2010
When I play a lot of Grand Theft Auto, I'm always struck by things in reality that remind me of its cartoonish generalizations, particularly those that are strongly tied to a particular geographic region. In warm weather, for example, the sudden widespread appearance of Red Efts whenever I enter the forest seems distinctly GTAesque. Today when I walked into Ricke Len's Country Restaurant in Napanoch (near Eastern Correctional Facility), the sudden demographic conformity of the patrons and the waitresses was enough to make me reach for my grenade launcher. Do all aging middle-aged diner waitresses look alike?
Riche Len's is a clean but somewhat run-down diner situated in what looks to be a bank branch from the 1970s. The reason I was there was to meet up with Jed, the guy with whom I'd be carpooling over to a prison in Sullivan County. He was there eating lunch with another woman who works in the program we're part of, so the three of us all carpooled together over to Sullivan County. As a cautionary tale, I told them about Gretchen's recent experience abandoning her car on the shoulder of this same road only a week before.
I find that when I'm in unfamiliar social circles, it's increasingly difficult to tell when someone is joking. Today I was in the guidance office of the medium-security State Prison in Sullivan County to deliver the results of my tuberculosis test, and I needed a copy. So asked for one. The guy there said he needed fifty cents for a copy and I thought he was for real, since nothing these guys do is ever in jest. They're like airport security that way. I would never, for example, point out to a guard the obvious face that the external hard drive I'm bringing in could just as easily be a bomb (and would look even more like one if it were to be x-rayed). So I started fumbling in my pocket for fifty cents. But no, the guy was joking.
As usual, I was villainously hungry on the drive home. In the past I would have gone to Benny's Pizza in Stone Ridge, but I've been completely and effortlessly vegan now for many weeks, so I considered the various vegan alternatives. If being vegan is such a small inconvenience to my lifestyle, why not keep at it, if only to live less voraciously in the world? I remembered that Bodacious Bagels in Stone Ridge sells falafel (and other Middle Eastern foods), and I saved my empty stomach for that destination. Unfortunately, though, Bodacious Bagels closes at three, and I ended up making a U-turn in a desolate parking lot. c After driving home on with what felt like a black hole in my abdomen, I devoured two bowls of cereal. For years now, the household milk (which I only consume with cold breakfast cereal) has been unsweetened Silk-brand soy milk. To me it tastes a little better than cow's milk. But to be honest, cow's milk now seems disgusting. Somehow I've become completely vegan, yet I made almost no effort.
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