Thursday, August 28, 2008


" he's all like, 'I'm a good person! I run an orphanage for children with AIDS in Africa!' And I'm all, 'that doesn't make you a good person, that makes you--'"

The counter guy glances over at me.

"I'll be with you in a second. I'm in the middle of a heated story."

"I know, I'm listening to the heated story," I smile.

The guy winds up with a flourish, and the three or four people he'd been declaiming to get up from the booth. Laughter and goodbye kisses all around. Counter guy finally comes over to me as they head out. I'm ready to order, but he's still in narrative mode:

"So I'm talking to this guy, right? We're having a normal conversation about politics, stuff like that. And so then I say, blah when I was at the gun show with my boyfriend, and he goes, 'You were at a -gun show-?' '...Yeah?' 'Why? Why?' 'Because we go hunting,' and he goes -nuts.- 'How can you -do- that? You get off on killing!' and I'm like, 'nnnooo, it's just something we do, I grew up in the country, me and my family used to go on hunting trips, we eat what we kill...' And then he's all, 'You're a bad person! I'm a better person than you!' --I think this is where you came in..."

"Where was this?" I interrupt.

"He was sitting literally right where you are. And then so he's all, 'if I had a gun I'd shoot you right now!'"

"...Oh, shit! This just happened?"

"--What? No, Monday night. So then I'm like, okay, you say you're a good person but you just threatened to kill me."

"Yyyyeah, wow, maybe 'do not engage' at that point...craziness."

"I swear, I was going to hit him. I wanted to hit him. I had to walk away at that point. --Are you ready to order?"

I give him what's already become my usual: creature of habit, me. Rare cheeseburger, no mayo, scoop of cottage cheese on the side, coke. As he's going to put in the order, I say, because I'm hooked too at this point:

"So, first of all, he's morally opposed to hunting for food, but he's in a diner..."

"Oh, yeah, he's going on and on about how he's a vegan, and I'm thinking, I didn't say it, those french fries you're eating? Were fried in the -same- oil as the scallops, the chicken...and I was like, haha, I win."

"And then of course there's the whole, 'I'm going to kill you.'"

"I know, right? You hate guns, but if you had a gun you'd shoot me. Okay!"


Someone else puts the juke on, or perhaps it goes on randomly. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, 'Man.'

I got a man who makes me wanna kill
I got a man who makes me wanna kill
I got a man he makes me wanna UGH
I got a man who makes me wanna kill
There he is. There he is. There he is. There he is....

Simultaneously, a police siren wails in the distance. The synchronicity gods are happy today.

The guy brings me my burger.

"I swear, I'm a little guy? but when I get angry, I get really angry. I will kick your ass. I totally wanted to hit him. He's, like, got no neck, he's got those gym shoulders that go all the way up to his head? I had to walk away."

"Seems smart."

"My friend wrote a letter to the manager saying how well I handled it."

He turns to another counter person, one I haven't met yet, just starting his shift apparently.

"People are getting crazier. Yesterday, this woman says, 'I'm not gonna pay for this. I didn't finish eating it and he took it away.' And we're all, yes, but you said you were done, and when we asked if you wanted it to go, you said no.' 'I didn't eat it, so I'm not gonna pay."

I take a bite of my burger. Nice and red and juicy, just the way I like it.


ArrogantWorm said...

...You've excellent taste in burgers.

Chris said...

The vegan nuts in San Fran pretty much made sure I'd never become a vegetarian, just on principle.

PhysioProf said...

Excellent vignette!

Esra said...

Re: the fries comment. I've been hearing rumours about KFC offering tofu chicken and I'm wondering, will they fry it in different deep fryers from the chicken bits?

Zenobia said...

I think that guy ran into Pat from Achewood.

belledame222 said...

I -sporfled- my Co-Cola

Lisa Harney said...

You're reminding me of how much I wanted to live in San Francisco.

Elaine Vigneault said...

Irony and hypocrisy every which way around. Har, har, har. Good one!

"The vegan nuts in San Fran pretty much made sure I'd never become a vegetarian, just on principle."

Oh yeah, that makes perfect sense. Hurt the animals to spite the vegans.

Lisa Harney said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
belledame222 said...

there is that, yes.

also: i think it had something to do with being that SHOCKED, SHOCKED that a short order cook in a mostly-burger-and-biscuits-n-gravy joint might have blood on his hands in some other manner too, you know.

or for that matter...

i mean, i get that the dining out options for strict vegans are slim, and you can't be all pure all the time; sure, go to the not vegan diner for fries...just, it seems to me, if you're THAT exercised over the purity of the whole thing? you might want to avoid such places, because, well, at -minimum-, y'are gonna find people who eat and prepare meat. maybe going from zero to sixty over someone who also does the shooting himself instead of just preparing what's sent from a slaughterhouse (hey, at least it's more direct) is a little -much-, even before the "I want to kill you, other human being with whom I disagree -violently-" business. I'm just saying.

belledame222 said...

--oh, I was here referring to the referring post where stentor was discussing the cooking oil bit of it, sorry for any confusion.

yeah, sure, there are assholes in any movement, and while I'm an evil carnivore myself, I wouldn't think the existence of people like Peter Singer or this guy or PETA should be grounds for dismissing principled vegans who -aren't- total assholes.

I do think, though, and this was sort of the, if the whole motivation of your veganism is your lurve for other living beings and commitment to non-violence, well...y'might want to look at some of that shadow material, there. but I mean, "I'm a better person than you are!" is classic.

it's a bit like, I don't know: I don't judge all anti-porn people by Kyle Payne, either, even though I disagree with them;

or anti-abortion people by Operation Rescue;

still, there is something about the extreme um splitting about all such people; it's not just hypocrisy, it's...well, maybe something to do with that need for "I'm a better person than you are."

i'm not saying it's always either, shed someone else's blood (human or otherwise)/exploit someone else by proxy for pleasure, or go up on a bell tower one day; just, well, aggression and predation, they are kind of part of life. What do you do with that? I don't think subsuming it all into any one political/idealistic movement really works, most of the time, is all.

belledame222 said...

btw, I wasn't necessarily totally simpatico with the counter guy either, but I guess it doesn't come across that way, especially. to be clear: I think he's kind of a jerk himself, and the "I needed to win the argument! I wanted to beat him up!" thing was, well, I do not endorse it, y'understand.

I'm just sort of -interested-; the whole scene was too something or other not to post about. i don't always take POV in the same way in these little observational sketches that I do in most of my other posts. it's just sort of: "huh. people. well, life's rich tapestry, etc."

Lisa Harney said...

No, the counter guy was being awful, with his gloating about the cooking oil and talking about how he'd like to do violence at the PETA guy.

And, I'm going to delete my previous comment because I was snarky and it sucked.

belledame222 said...

yeah, there were multiple layers of aggro going on there. i found it sort of riveting actually.

Elaine Vigneault said...

Why did you believe the counter guy? If he had told you a feminist came in and threatened to kill him, would you have believed him?

Moreover, there's a difference between expecting a) people to prepare and eat meat and b) using guns and hunting. Plenty of nonvegans are against hunting and even more nonvegans are anti-gun. (I was anti-hunting and anti-gun before I went vegan.)

Your bias against vegans shows.

belledame222 said...

...Elaine, never change.

belledame222 said...

If he had told you a feminist came in and threatened to kill him, would you have believed him?

No particular reason not to.

Lisa Harney said...

Knowing some feminists, I'd ask him if her name was "Lucky."

Lisa Harney said...

I say that as a feminist, btw. ;)

belledame222 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
belledame222 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
belledame222 said...

Lisa: beat me to it.

for the rest:

"never mind."

Plain(s)feminist said...

Well, so there's good reason not to be an asshole, right? Perhaps if the guy hadn't been an asshole, the counter guy might've warned him about the oil.

Incidentally, how is it that he didn't think about the oil in the first place? I eat meat, and even *I* would know better than that. I would've assumed the french fries had some sort of lard on them...maybe he's "new."

Plain(s)feminist said...

As to why the story is believable, I've met a lot of people like that - feminist, vegetarian, vegan, anti-racist, and of various other stripes. It's not that unusual to come across them.

Plain(s)feminist said...

Incidently, I don't eat rare ground beef anymore. Too much risk of bacteria. But rare beef is delicious when it isn't ground.

belledame222 said...

yeah, in California in the chain restaurants, you can't actually order under medium well. bacteria, same reason. I still have it rare when I can anyway tho'.

belledame222 said...

...which, I gather, to some people, is just more proof of one's nasty icky addictive status. Well, duh. One probably ought to wash one's hands after contact with this blog.

Plain(s)feminist said...

Yeah, well, it's easy to be self-righteous when you're certain you're right, isn't it?

It is unfortunate that, as with Christianity and feminism, the worst advertisements for veganism and vegetarianism are some of its practitioners...