Tuesday, August 3, 2010


In a restaurant, one young woman talking very loudly to another:

“My turkey chili disincluded her. She said that I was telling her to make alternative plans.”

Related reading
All “Overheard” posts

comments: 6

Other Elaine said...

God! You know, she might be revealing the secret of life, or something...but we'll never know, because, well, she makes no sense. I feel disincluded.

Michael Leddy said...

I was wanting to be disincluded from the entire conversation (three tables down), but this tidbit made it worthwhile.

Other Elaine said...

I think I have unraveled this conversational mystery The 'she' who was 'disincluded' was a vegetarian. By choosing to prepare turkey chili, the speaker (hostess) was failing to let the vegetarian tail wag the dog, so to speak. In a sense, I can sympathize. (see below)

Why I am Not a Vegetarian
by David Oliveira

It's not that I love animals less,
a case could be made I love them more—
and it's not that I love vegetables less,
I love them rare,
nothing more savory than raw celery
clawing and kicking its way down the gullet.

What I find hard to stomach is vegetarians.
If there is a vegetarian at the table, we all
get called in to be witnesses at a police lineup.
Cheese, eggs, fish,
each suspect paraded for identification—
pronounced innocent, guilty,
please take two steps forward.

And it's not like there is just one canon
for the good host to worry about.
Each vegetarian comes with a different menu.
Most won't eat anything that had legs,
though many eat fish, a fin nothing like a leg,
And eat shrimp, that have legs
which count as fins since they come from the sea
and taste so good in a Newburg sauce.
Oysters are problematic, without legs and from the sea,
but mostly eaten alive, like carrots.
A few pass on eggs because of the latent leg potential,
though pasta is usually okay,
the potential hard to realize under the marinara.

One friend doesn't drink milk
but asks for extra au jus
for his mashed potatoes. I haven't the heart
to explain what kind of vegetable the "au" is
or how many get squeezed to make a cup of "jus."

Don't misunderstand,
I admire those who stand on principle,
however vague, who doesn't admire
the resolve of, say, a Jerry Falwell,
to bear the weight of so much conviction
he can hardly walk to church.
Praise the Lord for limousines.
As my mother would say,
"Live and let live—
Just keep the details to yourself,
And pass the ketchup, please."

From _A Little Travel Story_, 2008.

Elaine Fine said...

I think David Oliveira's poem is extremely judgmental. People choose not to eat animal proteins for many different reasons, and many have a lot to do with health. After years of being vegan for reasons concerning health (auto-immune issues and inflammation issues), I now find the idea of eating the muscles and lactic secretions of non-human animals as difficult to stomach as the idea of eating muscles and lactic secretions from human animals.

I have no problem with wearing leather shoes and and carrying a bag trimmed in leather. I wouldn't want a watchband made of any other material. I have no problem with being around other people who don't feel the way I do about eating animal products. I even cook meat for other people on occasion. I just don't eat it myself.

I think that Michael's post was more about the word "disincluded" than the subject of the "disinclusion."

Other Elaine said...

You make an excellent point (or more!) But I think the original conversation has splintered into multiple points. The word 'disincluded' finally makes some sense, although originally I thought it was bizarre.

I was just trying to translate the 'meaning' of the overheard exchange, and using the poem to help. (The inconsistencies do highlight the gaps between the writer's friends' staginess and actual knowledge and conviction.)

The poem made me laugh, because I did sympathize based on some experiences with friends whom we otherwise treasure (allergies not the issue, just fuzzy semi-convictions....though, after 30 years of vacillations, we're getting tired.)

Michael Leddy said...

The vegetarian/vegan context seems likely to me. But I did post this bit for “disincluded” — yes, bizarre, and funny, as we were not disincluded from one very loud conversation.