Costa Rica

Costa Rica

Friday, May 23, 2014

Social Outings: Part 1 of – Let’s Say – 1 Billion

            Holy frijoles, Batman!  I had no idea so many people would take a gander at my last entry.  Thanks for the views and I hope it was entertaining.
            There are a lot of things I wanted to get to but I think those will wait for a few days.  Another restaurant review and my first book review are coming up.  Yeah, you heard me – more food pictures to drool over.
            No, what I wanted to mention in this entry is probably the one and only thing that has been a slight annoyance since going vegan.  No, not the lack of meat or dairy (like so many of my omnivore friends have asked), but the persona non grata vibe I sometimes feel when it comes to social outings with friends.  I call it (as of right now) the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Syndrome, because like Rudolph I’m never invited to play in reindeer – I mean – human games.  (Quick thought: perhaps Rudolph wasn’t invited not because of his nose, but because he was vegan?)

"My veganism will allow me to be the most qualified reindeer for this job!"
Perhaps it’s the workings of my already paranoid mind, but whenever there are outings to restaurants or fast food joints I seem to be forgotten about.  I know my friends don’t mean to do that on purpose, either.  It’s totally subconscious but I think I know why it happens.
            First, let me reiterate the fact that I don’t think I’m being forgotten about on purpose.  My friends are awesome people and I’m not walking home as if I’m Charlie Brown.  Okay?  Got it?  Friends = good.  That should save me from any hassle from my friends.  Moving on.
"Veganism didn't cure my early onset balding. SIGH!"
            That being said, I shall give you one example that happened just recently.
            I was at work and a few of my coworkers were trying to gather a group to go to some place to eat after they all got out for the night.  That place changed from Denny’s to some burger joint (I’ve forgotten which one).  Either way: ew.  Despite there only being about 4-5 of us in the area when the plans were being drafted, nobody seemed to address me specifically.  I wasn’t annoyed; on the contrary, I was quite amused because I knew I could get a lot of material out of this for the rest of the shift.
After a few minutes I piped in and said something along the lines of, “No, I’m all right, guys.  I don’t need want to go but thanks.”
There were a few sarcastic replies but one coworker said something like, “Matthew, you wanna come?  You know you’re invited.”
From there, several sarcastic comments were bandied about but I assured them that I was fine and couldn’t go anyway.  I really couldn’t due to obligations I already had.  That didn’t stop me from being sarcastic the rest of the night by saying the various, “It seems everyone’s going but me… since I wasn’t invited.”  While I didn’t care too much about not going out to eat, I guess the more I thought about it, the more a small part of me was a bit irked that I really hadn’t even been addressed when plans were made.  I didn’t even care if they were going to some burger joint.  That wasn’t the point.
The point was, I like to socialize, too!  That’s what I think omnivores sometimes forget and why I was ignored from the initial conversation.  So many of our interactions outside of work take place around food that they forget that what they’re really doing is bonding.  Food just happens to be a part of that whole social exchange.  What’s more, vegans like to socialize and have friends just like everyone else.  Shocking, I know!  I didn’t want to go because I wanted to eat a burger.  I wanted to go because I wanted to talk and engage in fun conversation.  As someone who tends to lean toward introversion, I tend to cherish the few times I am invited somewhere.
That’s why I don’t think omnivores do things like that on purpose – at least, not to me.  I think once you take out the food equation, omnivores think, “Well, they clearly wouldn’t want to be in a place that is serving the foods we like,” and then they go about scrubbing our names from the list of ‘People To Invite Out’.  It may be true that I don’t like the food but it’s not like I haven’t been to family functions or work events that have served animals.  I just ignore it, content myself with the fact that I’m doing good by the animals and to myself, and carry on unless somebody asks me about veganism.  Generally, my veganism never ever comes up.
Not only that but most places they like serves at least one dish that I can enjoy.  Even a garden salad is something for me to eat.  Everyone worries I’m going to be wanting whenever I go somewhere.  Then they open the menu and find several items that are already vegan or vegetarian that can easily be turned vegan.  It amuses me.  Besides, in the unlikely event that no food is available it will not kill me to wait a half-hour to go home and find something to eat.
No, omnivores just forget that we like to talk.  Plain and simple.  Doesn’t mean I can’t give them a good ribbing for forgetting me from time to time.
I suppose we just need to work on tearing down those mental blockers people tend to have.  Maybe t-shirts need to be made?
“I’m Vegan But I Still Want To Be Friends!”  For some (obvious) reason I’m picturing a cow and a pig hugging.  Get on this, creative people!
Does anyone else have experience with this phenomenon or had different thoughts about why it happens?  Like I said, I am not sitting in the dark listening to Morrissey (a vegetarian, by the way!) while I lament about not having friends.  I HAVE friends and they are great.  I like observing people and their behaviors is all and since going vegan, I’ve been getting good at it.
QUICK DISCLAIMER:  I am sitting in the dark but I’m not listening to Morrissey.  It’s Coldplay.  But it’s not because I’m depressed and alone!  I swear. Ha
Until next time, keep calm and vegan on!

P.S. - The picture of Morrissey comes from THIS site.  The picture of Charlie Brown was grabbed from HERE.  The image of Rudolph was just a stock picture from Google.

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