Monday, May 17, 2010

In which the Burnout proves she can be diplomatic.

Damn, y’all, I am straight-up proud of myself. Allow me to brag on my awesomeness and powers of diplomacy for a moment.

I had dinner at my parents’ place on Friday. Red was not there because I went straight from work, which is way closer to my parents than our house is, and he would have either had to drive himself or wait for me to drive all the way home so we could both drive up there together. It would have been mindless drama on a Friday evening when the Orioles had a home game, is what I’m saying. So I flew solo. My sister’s boyfriend’s dad and brother (do you need a flow chart yet?) were in town, so I was looking forward to meeting them. They asked polite questions about my veganism and were very interested in the details of vegan alcohol.

I’ll spare you the details of how a cookout turned into “Let’s just put everything under the broiler,” because it doesn’t really matter. I helped my mom make awesome veggie kebabs that were the envy of my flesh-munching tablemates. It was peaceful. I ignored the platter of carcasses. Somehow, the conversation turned to grocery stores. My sister mentioned that she had heard that Wegman’s had had some kind of negative PR regarding abused chickens. I was aware of it; it’s highly Google-able. Jaded bitch that I am, I wasn’t surprised, but I wasn’t going to get into it, either.

Her boyfriend’s dad spoke up. “Well, I don’t really see how they can be abused, if you’re going to kill them anyway.”

To quote The Dude, “This aggression will not STAND, man!” I didn’t sigh, but I wanted to. I leaned over, the better to see Mr. Sister’s Boyfriend’s Dad around the centerpiece of Mother’s Day roses, and said to him, “Ah, you know, you probably don’t want to have this conversation right now. Just saying.”

And, miraculously, that was it. That was motherloving it. He dropped it. I dropped it (not that I had started it, which bears repeating). Dinner continued. Dinner ended. I went home. I regaled Red with the story of my awesome display of tact. He was proud of me.

Don’t worry, beloveds. I’m still ready to fight someone. Just not, for the benefit of everyone involved, Mr. Sister’s Boyfriend’s Dad.

This time.

Yes, Red and I are totally Walter and The Dude.


  1. AWESOME job!!!

    also- LOVE that you and Red are The Dude and Walter. :)

  2. I second the awesome job! I struggle with keeping my cool & staying diplomatic in situations like this, too. It's hard!

  3. Wow, you did keep your cool! Impressive! I'm not sure I could have done it. I'm still picking my jaw off the floor over what he said.

  4. I guess it depends on the day as to who is Walter and who is The Dude. "I I told that kraut a f-ing thousand times that I don't roll on Shabbos!"

    "Forget it, Donny, you're out of your element!"

  5. Yeah, I can't really see you asking anyone, "Mind if I do a J?" Then again, we've both dabbled in pacifism....

  6. not during vietnam of course...

  7. I really like your writing! Just stumbled upon your blog via YourDailyVegan. Mind if I add you to my blogroll?

  8. Oh and PS - The Big Lebowski is my ALL-TIME FAVOURITE MOVIE. I think I may well have seen it 200 times.

  9. Nice to meet another Achiever, Plate+Simple! I had no idea I was even on Your Daily Vegan...! I'll add you to my blogroll as well. :)

  10. All awesome vegan blogs (like yours!) eventually end up on Your Daily Vegan (YDV) - but today I just tweeted that everyone should read your blog because I do :)

    I'll be adding your link to our lynx page as well- I can't find your email address anywhere but I'd love to send you some further info. Let's connect!

  11. Thanks for reading and the add, KD! I messaged you through YDV, but my email is shannon(dot)river(at)gmail(dot)com. Looking forward to it!

  12. You are added on Plate+Simple as well!

    I must say - I haven't been this excited about a new vegan blog discovery in awhile! You are such a great writer! I will definitely be checking in regularly :)

    ...and perhaps we'll meet up someday and knock back a couple of soymilk white russians...hehe

  13. No, me and Cody are Walter and the Dude!!!!!

    Okay, I loved this piece, Shannon. Vegan diplomacy at its best! I think you did a great thing here, SERIOUSLY great.

    You kept it peaceful and respectful, at a fun family dinner. That is HARD to do. But you were a great example that vegans are not all crazy loons ready to jump on everyone who doesn't share their views, or cry at the sight of flesh. GOOD FOR YOU.

    But at the same time, you weren't a pushover. You discussed veganism, and when push came to shove you took a stand and made it clear that you would engage, but it wasn't really wise for them to do so. And it worked!

    This tale will go down in vegan lore as that one time long ago when a vegan and omnivore enjoyed each other's company in a peaceful manner. No one cried, no one yelled, and no one walked away half maimed. WELL DONE!