“A whole rack o’ ribs,” ah yelled at the hussy behind the bar, “with extra sows n a side o’ fried puhtaders.”
T’whole bar roared with excatment. This wus it. Ah wus gettin loaded.
Next thing, ma name’s gettin put in flashin red lights on a placurd ‘buv the counter. A bell rings lak the get go from a wrestlin match. The sweet smell o’ BBQ sows n deep frad crispy unyuns fills ma snowt. This takuhs me back. Back to the good old daze.
Ah undo a couple buttons on ma shirt, blue n black checkered what a got from momma in the hills. If its one thing ah learn from ma time as a hilly billy; it’s this. Never pass up on a’ppurtunity t’eat ribs.
I don’t know what possessed me to join this cretin for supper, but as I stared at the slobbering mess sat opposite me, dribbling a trail of barbecue sauce down his faded cobalt shirt, I decided it must have been pity. It took one look at the menu for him to decide that he’d be taking on the challenge of a whole rack of ribs, as if eating dinner were some crude competition. He looked proud, and I looked disgusted. Etiquette aside, he wouldn’t know a copy of the New Statesman if I slapped him across the face with it. When I asked him if he was aware of the carbon footprint of the meat industry, he asked me what carbon was. When I asked him if he was aware of where the meat on his plate came from, he replied, “from the kitchen?” I opted for the halloumi and falafel salad and a glass of water; I find that in the age of grave overconsumption and greed in which we live, understatement can be a virtue. I took one more glance at the gelatin-lathered ribcage opposite, looked to the heavens, and thought to myself: why can’t everyone be more like me?
Ah see the way she looks at me. That disgust, that repulsion. But unerneath it ah see su’in else; pyoore desire. Temptin isn it? The dark sahd.
She all over there in her tortus round spectacles, sleeves rolled up, vision smugly restin on her peachy clean nose. S’mtimes I think uh sayin to er; we ain’t so different, you n I.
The piece o fatty grilled cheese on her plate, s’posedly representin some kinda liberal movement for food. Hell, I say this, if you gots to make more whacky meals in the name o some mindful consumption friendly for the planet, then why you gotta make somethin that dont already exist? You just makin more waste. Thats the way ah see it.
Before this whole vegetable movement all I knew is ah ate what I wus given! N I sure as hell enjoyed it.
Yu’ll never see me struttin up t’that bar requestin this n that, no yoghurt, hold the cheese, can ah get a whole grain doughnut w’that. No sir-ee.
She all up in planet organic thinkin she all high and mighty. But me, down here, I really knows where its at. I’ll jus let er keep on smirkin.
People like this remind me that ignorance isn’t bliss. How can ignorance be bliss when you can’t even distinguish an oven chip from a sweet potato wedge? And yet something about the evening told me that this man’s mind bore hidden complexities. There was a trace of hostility in those insipid eyes of his that had me pondering on my journey home whether it was more than just ignorance that kept him in the dark ages. The encounter with the imbecile provoked a period of introspection, from which I emerged with some fairly profound thoughts regarding the cyclical relationship between vegans and carnivores.
There is a stubborn dignity in the meat-eater’s idiocy: just as I take pride in my superiority, so too does he take pride in his obstinacy. Where would one be without the other? We depend on each other for our spiritual capital. He is the yin to my yang. But must it be this way? As long as we remain entrenched as polar opposites, staring at each other with contempt from across the dinner table, then reconciliation is out of the question, and vegan utopia can never be realised. The meat-eater will never join the vegan in modernity as long as the cycle of mutual contempt between the two is perpetuated. No, first we must find harmony. Only then can we learn from each other. Or rather: only then can he learn from me.
As a licked the last remnants of the sowsy bones from ma paws ah caught her starin’. Waitin’, probly. For me tuh give in, put mah hands up, surrender the challenge n admit defeat. In some ways she may be right, but in this here case she be wrong.
The bell rung again, n a pushed ma plate to the centre in victory. Ah’d won this round. That skeleton o’ pig may not’v been the same juicy texture of the porky rind back in Texas Alabama, but ah sure as hell finished it.
My empty piece o porcelain looked pretty impressive next t’her ikea white import filled with some wilted leaves n half chewed clusters o chickpea. Looks like greed won this time, cos what ah had didn’t go to waste.
Ah watched as ma name rose to the top o the wooden leaderboard. She threw me a pained x’preshun as the waiter took er remains o unfinished food. “Maybe get the ribs, next tam” ah smiled.