Sunday, April 4, 2010

Liar liar, pants on fire.......

As a general rule, I don't condone lying. I personally find it difficult to lie - my tell is my smile : ) I suck at poker. However, when dining out, I transform into a full-fledged, flat out, look-you-dead-in-the-eye white liar. Why? So people won't feed us dairy or eggs. So I don't have to explain vegansim. Because, well, because it's a whole hellava lot easier.

Veganism is fast gaining popularity, especially where we live.  But some people still don't get it, and worse yet, some people don't care as much because they see it as a choice. Shortly after our conversion, we went out to eat at a local Mexican chain restaurant.  Even though I had asked for them without, the beans came with cheese and sour cream. We asked, politely, for them to be remade, which they agreed to without an attitude or problem. When the plate came back, it was obvious the sour cream and cheese had just been scraped off. CONTAMINATION ALERT!!! I again asked for the plate to be remade. The look on the waiters face clearly said, "what's the big deal? It's not like it's gonna kill you." And because I have issues with feeling badly for asking people to go out of their way, I quickly said, "oh, I am so sorry to bother you, it's just that I am really allergic".  Instant attitude change! He apologized, had the plate remade, and I was totally confidant my dish was now dairy free.

Now, I do go back and forth on this. I think the word vegan has power in restaurants, and I like to use it to show that these options are wanted and appreciated. But, I am more concerned that our meals come dairy-free. So, I usually size up the waiter/waitress. If they seem like they'd be receptive to my vegan ways, I say that. If not, I default to the allergy lie.

Of course, my kids recognized the lie right way. I was holding my breath until the waiter left, hoping my kids wouldn't rat me out. Hoping I wasn't teaching them to be ashamed to say they're vegan. Hoping I didn't just forever destroy their image of their perfect, lie free mom. (HA!)

Thankfully, they kept their little mouths closed : ) As soon as the waiter walked away, I explained to my kids that yes, it was a lie, but since it was a lie that didn't hurt anyone,  it was kinda okay. I explained that I just wanted to make sure my dinner came without cow secretions. I explained that not everyone knew what veganism was. Okay, not the best teaching parenting wise, but I'll take it over making a crazy vegan scene in a restaurant! For me, the important part was to make sure I was able to explain to them the 'why' of the lie.

Augustine of Hippo (St. Augustine) developed a list of eight types of lies. One of these that I have claimed for us, is: "lies that harm no one and that save someone's purity." Though for me, veganism is not as much about purity as a protest of suffering, but it still fits. 

So yes, a lie is a lie is a lie. But it makes life eating out, as a normal person, a whole lot easier!


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