Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I'll Have a Tall Extra-Hot Detox Macchiato

We have been home in Victoria for almost a month now. I've gotten re-acquainted with where things are in the kitchen, and yes the joy of actually having a kitchen again. Vegetarian eating! And is it too much to say the "ecstasy" of having my own personal espresso machine? I think it was in Newfoundland where Jack had to jump behind the counter and show the waitress how to use the restaurant's espresso machine. No one had ever asked for a drink from it before.
When we returned, we literally had almost of week of illness, that we think was actually detox from road-food and way too much caffeine. Then our poor cat Rocky suddenly became ill and died. As my friend Sophie said, it was "a f**king sob-fest."
In any case I am still feeling unsettled. I recognize "reverse culture-shock" and have experienced it before, although I hadn't expected it from my own country.
The term 'macchiato' is typically used to describe an espresso drink that has just a touch of milk. In Italian it actually means, 'marked' or 'stained.' And I suspect my culture-shock may turn into some permanent macchiatos.

An unexpected permanent stain from the trip is my attitude towards the seal hunt in Newfoundland. This is particularly shocking considering my pain, guilt and existential questioning of our choice to have poor Rocky euthanized. Also, when I was a kid I was scandalized by the seal hunt from the time I was 10 years old, when our teacher invited Greenpeace to come into the classroom and speak to us (yeah well it was Boulder Colorado, 'where the hip meet to trip.') The idea of taking a big club and bopping a cute, innocent, fluffy, white, baby ball of cuddliness over the head is still something I would have a hard time doing myself. Let alone 300,000 of them in a year. It's obviously something that's emotional.

I am also completely convinced that if they rounded up the live seals and put them on a truck and 'processed' them in a big metal 'facility' somewhere, the world would have no problem with it at all. Like is done with the 100,000 cows per DAY in the USA alone, (or the 420,000 pigs, or the 23 million chickens...) This has nothing to do with sustainability, but with humane treatment.

Implements of torture?

Theoretically, there are humane standards for killing animals. Theoretically the animals are 'stunned' (not killed) before they are strung up by the heels to have their throat slit and having had the pleasure of watching what happened to the individual in front of them. You get the picture. I know that for my cat, we had the vet make a house call to avoid the trauma of the car trip and the stainless steel table, but in the end Rocky struggled to get away from the needle. This is as humane as it gets. In industrial killing there is no time for caring.

I think the Newfoundlanders are astounded by the backlash, because Brigitte Bardot never bothered to have her photo taken cuddling up to a cod. The way a fish dies is never considered by anyone. When I worked in the fish plant, some of the salmon would come in practically chopped in two by net marks from being squished with tons (literally) of other fish in a purse seine. Not a way I would choose to die. But it happens underwater, so no one sees, so that makes it okay. Besides fish aren't that cuddly.
Maybe I should have had that seal dinner after all. It still would have made more sense than a Big-Mac.

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