So there we were in the upstairs dining area at Wegman's, the grocery store that's actually like a tiny city. You can buy chow downstairs and go up and chow down on tables that overlook hoi polloi as they shop and push carts about.
We were there as a family to have lunch to birthday-salute a beloved family member who shall remain nameless because I'm too modest.
Some of us had subs, some had sushi, some had salads or noodle salad.
That last sentence is one syllable too long to be a haiku, but you have to like the alliteration.
Peggy made my favorite German Chocolate Cupcakes and we were just about to move along when the noonday din was calmed by someone hollering, "May I have your attention please?" down below. Well, he got everyone's attention, all right. It was hard to tell at first why he wanted it, but he had it, and soon enough it came out that he was standing in the meat and delicatessen department, hollering about animal abuse and the need not to eat them.
This is a conflict with which many of us wrestle. We love animals, and yet we love ham and salami and roast beef and pork and bacon and pepperoni and chicken and chicken salad and shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo, pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There's pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich.
Oh, excuse me. You see the conflict? I love animals. Just yesterday when Eddie the cat was lost in my closet (please don't ask) I was beside myself until we found her beside the dressing chair in my closet. And I really don't think I could raise a calf on a farm I don't own and then enjoy him in hamburger form, unless I was hungry enough.
Nothing but conflicts here between the love of animals and the love of pit beef sandwiches, and someday we will sort all that out.
But I went to the balcony and looked down on the roiling scene below just in time to see the guy who was hollering about not eating meat being hustled out the door by two beefy butchers.
And there you have a slice of current America - yes you do have the right to say what you think, and the people who own (or work for) the place where you choose to annunciate have every right to show you to the door. PETAman didn't destroy anything, hurled nothing but invective, and it all was over in a matter of minutes.
Some people got a bit nervous and wanted to leave the store at once, mindful of global terrorist incidents, but since I view every citizen except for my family and Jerry Lewis as potentially lethal, I decided to hang around to see if there was a second act to this play, but there wasn't.