20 February, 2009

”Stop, I want to live in my ignorance”

Ignorance is the state in which a person lacks knowledge, sophistication or intelligence. The word 'Ignorant' is an adjective describing a person in that state.

As I sit waiting patiently for my take-out order at Java Green, the environmental and animal friendly café near my office, I couldn’t help but overhear the loud-speaking woman sitting next to me as she expressed “Stop, I want to live in my ignorance”. Being close to the woman and her male friend, I had heard the whole conversation. He was telling her about a video he had seen on factory farming cruel methods of raising and killing animals for human consumption. His voice was calm and did not denote a “preaching” tone. He was explaining to the woman why HE chooses NOT to eat animal products and why he likes this particular restaurant and choose to bring her there.

She then defensively stated that she “could never give up meat”. Which the guy didn’t comment on. As her insecurity grew in the silence that followed the lull in the conversation she began to describe another restaurant experience. An experience that was completely inappropriate given her surroundings. In her disrespectful loud voice, she proceeded to describe a barbecue she just attended; a meat fest that she happily partook in.

Now I don’t give a flying f—k what this woman does in her earthly existence but I don’t want to hear about her chowing down on a dead animal when I am sitting in a vegan restaurant. Her friend trying to be nice about the situation, in a joking tone mentioned that his last barbecue consisted of a pile of luscious veggies grilled to perfection because he didn’t really like the thought of watching the flesh of a formerly living being being cooked right before his eyes.

At this point, the woman stated her now-ingrained-in-my-memory sentence “Stop, I want to live in my ignorance”. I didn’t think much of the statement or of the woman and decided to move to another spot to wait out my lunch. But as I got my food and went by her table again, she again said it but this time added “No, I really do, I like not knowing about things that can ruin my fun”. I wanted to throw up on her head but, since there was nothing in my belly, that was not possible, plus it would have ruined the carefully prepared vegan food in front of her.

As I walked back to the office, the thoughts flew around and around in my mind. How could a person WANT to live in ignorance? Or in her case STRIVE to live that way. I make a concerted effort not to judge people and I realize fully that there are people who are living in their ignorance not knowing that they are; this is different than making a conscious effort not to know, given the location. DC is a city swarming with multiple cultures, races, religions and languages. A city that is a mecca of true information, not the media bullshit you find on local american television stations. There is a homeless person on every corner selling “Street Sense” a small newspaper written by the homeless and funded by a non-profit to benefit those living without a roof over their head. Stuff like that is everywhere. There is the little Peruvian guy that I give a buck to now and then who plays his ethnic musical instrument outside my metro station. He makes me smile every time I emerge and hear him there and memories of my trip to Peru come flooding back every time!

What does that woman think of as she hurries past these people? Does she think about them at all? Does she walk right by as if they are not there? Maybe she doesn't think at all because that would denote intelligence, thus negating her current standing as ignorant...

How many people make a snide remark when there is a child crying on a metro train…too many to count. How many wish they could help the person who has to try and comfort the child...probably too many to count as well. I just hope that positive energy from those silently wishing the best for the adult and child can override the negative energy brewing in the uncaring ignorant sad souls of those who will stew over the audacity that an innocent child had to interrupt their quiet ride to work.

I bet that woman would go to an AA meeting and boast about how much fun she had pounding one beer after another and how she could NEVER give up drinking. I bet she would do that.

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