George Strait says to “Check Yes or No.” I usually need another option.
I worked in aviation for a very long time. During that time, I was asked an awful lot of questions about things over which I really had no control. So, I never gave definitive answers. My answers were always qualified and had wiggle room.
Q: Is the flight on time? A: It departed on time and is estimated to arrive at (whatever time).
See how I didn’t really answer? There were too many variables for me to say yes or no. Another aircraft might land gear up on the runway and the flight might have to divert to another airport (that actually happened once during a flight I was working). Then it would be late. The aircraft might lose an engine and have to finish the flight on just one. (That happened, too.) Then it would be late. See? Too many variables outside my control for me to give a straight, committed answer.
So, when a coworker asked me a few weeks ago if I was a vegetarian, I waffled on that answer, too. “I’m not eating meat right now,” is what I said. What does that even mean?! Well, it means that I might not be a life-long vegetarian, but, in fact, I am one right now. I haven’t eaten meat in several weeks now and have no plans at this point to resume eating it. I just feel too good to mess it up with that heavy, sluggish feeling I remember having after eating a meal with meat. When this started, it was more like I was accidentally omitting meat. Now, I’m actively avoiding it. That’s a factor that’s completely within my control. It’s not a variable.
It’s not like barbecued ribs are going to jump out from behind a tree and stuff themselves down my throat. “Well, I tried to be a vegetarian, but I was the victim of a drive-by ribbing.” (How silly. We know from Mrs. Doubtfire that there are only drive-by fruitings, not ribbings.) I do not have a nocturnal eating disorder (that’s a real thing). I don’t wake up in the middle of the night with a chicken leg in one hand and a beef brisket in the other. Food does not mysteriously disappear from my kitchen. I am aware of what and when I eat. I do the shopping. I can choose to eat meat or not. And I choose not.
Does that mean I’ll be a vegetarian for the rest of my life? No necessarily. But, then again, it doesn’t have to. I’m not joining the Bratva, the Cosa Nostra, or the Packer’s Fan Club, for crying out loud. There’s no blood vow. It’s a decision I make every time I shop, prepare a meal or order one. I’ve heard of people who are vegetarian or vegan at home, but who are omnivores when they eat out. There are vegetarians who occasionally eat fish. I’ve spoken with several people who were vegetarians for a period of time; but, who no longer are. They were omnivores until they weren’t. Then they were vegetarians until they weren’t. My sister says I’ve gone to the Dark Side. Perhaps. But I’ll only be here until I’m not.
My friend Katie says that I have a problem with commitment. She might be right; but, I’m not willing to say for sure. However, in a discussion last week with a different coworker, I did say that I was a vegetarian. And you know what? It’s a commitment I’m okay with.