Friday, December 14, 2007

Potluck of Champions

"We haven't had a monthly birthday lunch since October," remarked my supervisor in our staff meeting today, perhaps reminded by the fact that today was her birthday.

We all felt awful. Well, you know - more or less.

"You have to understand the culture I come from," she went on. "I have never tasted meat. I never smelled it. If we can just have a potluck with no meat, we can start having group lunches again. Perhaps breakfast would be easier."

Mmmm, bacon!

It's not fair. I've never been insensitve towards vegetarians. I would never dream of trying to sneak meat into one (stop snickering - I heard that!). My ex-mother-in-law used to, when her older son was a vegetarian; she made a point of cooking things like rice and soups with beef broth, and denying, right to your face, that they contained any meat products whatsoever. But she's batshit insane, so I don't know if I should really hold her up as an example of the kind of behavior I virtuously refrain from emulating.

It's just that I've never known a vegetarian whose dietary requirements forbade anyone else in the same room to eat what they might personally prefer. Granted that much too often, a vegetarian doesn't have enough options at a potluck, restaurant, or buffet - a small garden salad does not a meal make, especially if it consists largely of iceberg lettuce, which makes a handy packing material but is not technically food. So at a potluck where a vegetarian will be present, the attendees should all keep that fact in mind, and be sure to bring at least something that everyone can eat. But to insist that no one else gets to have any meat at all?

You could apply the argument that it's inconsiderate to smoke around nonsmokers, who might find the smell of cigarette smoke unpleasant, not to say unhealthful. And as a meat-eater, I wouldn't want to force the side-effects of my own taste on an innocent bysteander.

Then again, if that's the case, I really don't see why I can't have microwave popcorn permanently banned from my office.

Perhaps I'd be more sensitive to my supervisor's taste if not for the fact that it's part of an ongoing pattern with her: she's terrified of snakes, so we didn't get to have a snake guy do an educational presentation at a safety meeting which she would not have attended anyway. She's disorganized, so everyone else has to jump through multiple hoops to present information to her in as idiot-proof a format as possible, at not inconsiderable inconvenience. She's micromanagerial to the point of insanity, so all her staff must sign in and out on an electronic dot-board, track every phone call, email, and visit in a special database, and submit weekly and monthly status reports.

Whatever the reason, I'm starting to have thoughts of branding my resignation letter into a slab of raw meat with a live snake wrapped around it, and this worries me.

Well, it wouldn't make for a very happy birthday for the snake, would it?

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At December 14, 2007 8:51 PM, Blogger Gary said...

You read my mind today :)


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