Cullen Curtiss




Monday, October 24, 2005

Leather Jacket Vegetarian

The Leather Jacket Vegetarian is a name I would still use to describe myself even tho' it's been 7 years since I published an essay about it in the San Francisco Chronicle. Like everyone else in a seven year period, I've both changed a lot and stayed rather the same. As with back then I still think stereotyping is obnoxious, ignorant, and oftentimes dangeous. Many of those who knew me and those who didn't thought I was righteous in all sorts of ways because of my vegetarian ways. I'll admit that I have felt proud in the past because I am not contributing to the daily slaughter of senseless (and some non-senseless animals) and because I am not adding to the riches of the kingdom with the golden arches, BUT I still have a divine leather jacket that I get to wear even more often now that I live in a climate that cools down considerably in the fall and winter.

Now that I think about it, that was last fall and winter; this fall and winter, I'll have to just stare longingly at the beast hanging in my closet. I'm pregnant, you see, and there aren't many pre-preggers clothes that wrap around my happily burgeoning middle. Yes, I have a craving to wear the jacket, but I would look silly, not cool, like I used to. There are other cravings, too, like the one that gnawed at me all day long recently. A scrumptious burger from childhood popped into my head and would not give me any relief. This was odd as I had not had a burger since childhood -- since I was 13, to be exact. But I remembered it as if it were yesterday. Between two toasted English muffins, sat a smug and juicy burger, smothered in ketchup, mustard (Grey Poupon), and pickles. It was a messy affair, but one not to be forgotten.

So, on this day of dancing hamburger visions, my husband and I were in Pilar, walking along the Rio Grande. He thought I was kidding when I told him what I'd seen, but was not quick to correct my imaginings. He'd been waiting for this moment -- the moment he and would share a meal of meat. On the way home, we stopped by Sugars, a roadside take-out joint just recently written up by Gourmet magazine. My husband claimed the burgers here were the best and would find me no less than that for my march back into carnivorism.

I was mildly nervous while waiting under the shade of an umbrella for our one hamburger with onion rings order. What if I spontaneously zuked it up? What if I loved it and had to order another and another? There was really no telling. It arrived, somewhat unceremoniously, and I smothered my half in the way I was accustomed. Then I took a bite. The flavor was incredibly familar, but not fantastic. I kept thoughts about where this particular beast had roamed out of my mind while I had another bite. The thought of the burger having been made from more than one beast occured to me for a moment and I banished that thought as well. The onion rings were a good distraction.

My husband looked on with hope and commented on how my being pregnant was great in so many ways. Since this day, I've had two whole burgers of my own -- one with green chile and the works at the Cowgirl in Santa Fe, the other in front of a movie at home ... made by my husband with blue cheese crumbles mixed in. He thought this was the gateway experience, and tho' I've enjoyed myself, it just doesn't occur to me to want meat all that often. I was happy to oblige when the growing being inside of me told my brain to clamor, but until I get another sign, I'll probably stick with getting my protein the vegetarian way.

BUT I'm really looking forward to fitting into my leather jacket again.


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