“You don’t eat meat? What the hell do you eat then?” asked my host, wearing a shirt that said democrat for the ‘irony’ of it, as he explained it to me upon my arrival.
Here we go, I thought to myself. How do I answer this? All eyes turned to me, all strangers, me in a place where I just DO NOT belong.
“It’s a choice. I choose not to eat it.”
“Why the hell not?” said another, bigger man with a shaved head and a wife-beater.
I don’t even know what to say. I feel ridiculed, scorned, picked on. This is the first anyone has talked to me at this party, and I don’t even have a response that they could possibly understand. And I can’t REALLY stand up for myself, because she works with some of them, most of them in fact, considering this is a company picnic. I hate Fourth of July.
Last year, I went to my friends’ house, a nice couple I’ve known for years. I was single, they were having a small get together, and they were all-foods friendly. They even had a small extra grill for the Vegans who wouldn’t even let their veggie burgers touch something that touched meat. These were my people.
I thought if I stalled long enough, this particular group would suddenly forget what they were talking about and move on to some other topic. After suggesting tying me down and shoving food down my throat, the wanted distraction appeared.
“Can you believe what that <insert the n-word> in the White House did this week? It’s called the White House for a reason.”
Good God. Where in the hell am I? And where did my girlfriend go? I look up the hill where she disappeared with her cubicle-buddy ten minutes ago and try to psychically call her.
“Bullshit. Utter bullshit. Do I really need this Obamacare crap?”
“And you know, I got into a line for it the other day, and I had to wait thirty minutes! Thirty!”
So they hate it, yet still are already trying to sign up. Nice. I can’t believe this. I could be with that same couple from last year. They invited me. Or my parents’ house. Or sitting alone at home reading a book. Even diarrhea would be better than this. No lie.
I guess I must love my girlfriend for letting all this happen without a peep. Maybe I should tell her. Maybe I should wait until after this travesty in case I change my mind.
“Oh did you see my new bumper sticker? It’s genius, absolute genius.”
Oh no, what now?
“I saw it!” said one of the women as her face lit up. “It says-“
He cuts her off. “You’re in America. Speak American!” They all start laughing.
I wasn’t aware American was a language. I thought about saying so, but figured if I wanted to get out alive, I should probably just keep my liberal mouth shut. They were, after all, already onto me.
“Best sticker ever!”
I actually even think the My Other Car is a Nimbus 2000 Harry Potter sticker is better than that. Even a Twilight sticker is better. I was always a fan of Mr. Yuck as well.
A man in an apron with the body of a naked woman on it (and I don’t mean the bikini-clad woman, I mean naked) came in and said, “The pig’s roasted! Burgers are ready! Come and get it!”
The host started ushering people towards the pavilion. As they all left, I was only one left behind with him.
“Hey, buddy,” he said to me. “Want some pig, or a burger?”