Not one to trumpet my own birthday, it went unnoticed on Monday at work, which is a good thing. I am not one for having a bunch of people I don't know very well gather around with your colleagues at your desk and sing "Happy Birthday." It's a big deal at my work!
The people in my office always go top shelf with the cupcakes, and all the ladies say the exact same thing, "Oh, none for me thanks." "Are you sure, Mildred?" "Oh, I'll take half." Soon, Mildred is taking half’s of every flavor of cupcake. By day’s end there is still frosting on the corner of her mouth and she eagerly asks everyone within shouting distance, “Who’s birthday is next?!”
When word leaked out, thanks to Facebook, my boss chastised me for not alerting everyone it was my birthday on Monday. Had I absconded with the company’s funds, and used her car in the get-a-way she would have been less angry.
So, today was my surprise birthday “party.” I was pouring over some papers with bad news on them when they all arrived. Scowl went to smile rather quickly.
My veganism is a source of amazement with my new co-workers, and just today our head of research, a lovely woman from India, stopped me to say that she just heard I was vegan, and wanted to share the secret handshake and password. It's an exclusive club!
Like motorcyclists, Jeep owners, and Prius drivers who wave or honk at complete strangers on the rode only because they share the same mode of transportation, vegans are an embracing lot when another former carnivore jots off the field to their side of the stadium. I remember when I first started this vegan journey I would be ashamed of being a part of this crowd, either denying thrice before the cock crows, or speaking in hushed tones in the catacombs always fearful of the Roman soldiers with their dinner choice: meat, fish, or death by humiliation.
Well, now, just like the first heterosexual man to wear a pink shirt confidently in public, starting a trend, I hope to bring more people on my little Pied Piper excursion to merely take one day of meat off the calendar. Meatless Mondays? Fish on Friday? Catchy phrases to promote healthier eating promulgated but celebrities and politicians alike. That is a bit more palatable than, “No Meat, Fish, or Dairy, ‘and, yes, that includes Cheese’ Wednesdays.” A bit cumbersome, but at least we are heading in the right direction, and when it comes to changing diets that are literarily generations old we need to take baby steps.
Speaking of baby…