In most of the United States, the leaves are off the trees and winter has set in. But here in northern California, November is the height of autumn.
Thanksgiving is generally the worst day of the year for vegans. As if everyone eating turkey weren’t bad enough, most of the so-called trimmings aren’t fit to eat for those of our ilk. In my case, I am extremely blessed to have a wife who humors my prandial proclivities. She always prepares something for me in advance, which we carry to our family functions.
But tomorrow is our annual Thanksgiving pot luck up in the penthouse at work, which I anticipate with more than a bit of trepidation. The turkey and gravy is being provided, with employees bringing the fixings. I hope I don’t end up having to discuss veganism, but I don’t know that there will be much way around it.
I can just see it now: “Have some turkey, there’s plenty!”
“Um, no, thanks.”
“Why not? It’s Thanksgiving!”
“Um, I don’t eat meat.”
“Ohhhh, that explains it. Well, have some mashed potatoes!”
“Thanks so much, but not right now.”
“Why not? There’s no meat in that.”
“Milk and butter.”
“You can’t have dairy either? Oh, you poor thing!”
“Yeah, I’m vegan.”
“Really? Well, have some green beans. Have some sweet potato casserole.”
“Bacon. Dairy. Sorry.”
“Aren’t you going to eat anything? At least have some pumpkin pie!”
At which point I bolt for the elevators, heading back to my cubicle to get some work done. Hopefully, by that point, many of my coworkers and bosses will have seen me, so that I’ll have made an official “appearance.”
I’ve been trying to think of alternatives. I could bring my lunch with me along with my usual gallon of iced lemon tea in my big handle bag that I pull behind me. I could bring a sandwich or a plastic container of tofu and vegetables up to the penthouse with me. Perhaps if I dump the contents onto a paper plate, it will look as if I’ve helped myself from the buffet.
Alternatively, I could hide out in my cubie and hope that no one notices my absence. The last time I tried this tactic (at another employer), it blew up in my face. “Your absence was noticed,” my boss informed me frostily the next day. I was officially “not a team player.”
I suppose I could always take a sick day. Three-day weekend, anyone?
Update: I did not attend the event, instead opting to hide out in my cubicle with my lunch brought from home and get some work done. Several of my coworkers did the same. No one has complained.