Get off my lawn

School started again, and I noticed how all of the students walk around with earbuds, listening to whatever is on their iPhone. On the first day back, I was waiting for the elevator and a student walked by with earbuds in, and I could hear his music. He was, like, four feet away from me and if he’d stopped, I’m sure I would have been able to identify his music. It was that loud.

I have a 20-something family member who does this same thing. If she doesn’t have her iPhone playing out loud for all to hear (also incredibly annoying), she has her earbuds in.

Now, I’m all about listening to music, and particularly listening with earbuds to block out all else. Sometimes I like to pop in my earbuds, start up Hamilton the Musical, and listen to it while coloring in the Sugar Skull coloring book my friend bought me for my birthday.

I’m a bit thrown by the pervasive reliance on earbuds/iPhones to fill the void of silence/nature/people. When I’m out in the world, I like listening to the world. The birds, the wind, the chatter of people, the tidbits of conversation. I like the quiet, too.

Part of that comes from being a writer. Overheard bits of conversation are of great value when you’re looking for inspiration for a story.

And, of course, this presumes a lot—for all I know, these students meditate an hour each morning in total silence. Perhaps they wear earbuds to more easily eavesdrop on the people around them because it looks like they’re tuned out when really they aren’t listening to anything.

All I know is that I could do without walking into a classroom and seeing students with one earbud in and one earbud out. Come on, people. You can go two hours without noise blaring directly in your ear. (Just call me a crotchety old woman)


In other news, I am going ‘basically vegan’ for one month, and the month started on the 18th, so I’m just a few days in. I decided on only a month because I really love cheese, and I didn’t know if I could go cold turkey on giving it up. Instead, I’m telling myself it’s only for a month. I want to see if I feel any different after a month of avoiding such items.
I’ve been toying with this idea for a while, and this latest decision came after an interesting chat with my madre, and then a delicious vegan dinner that same night at a friend’s house. The dishes she made were so simple and satiating; I decided right there to try going vegan for a month.

I say ‘basically vegan’ because I’m giving up obvious products like cheese, milk, eggs, but I won’t be scouring labels to look for all animal-based ingredients (gelatin, bone char). I’m hoping I’ll be avoiding them by default as I switch my snacks to vegan snacks. I’ll still allow myself honey, which strict vegans don’t.

The conversation I had with my mom was about a woman my brother had met, and how veganism had help her with a lifelong problem of high cholesterol that ran in her family. It was the only thing that helped.

As I posted before, the health benefits are a perk of veganism, but my primary interest is in removing myself, as much as I can, from the industry of animal cruelty.

I heard on the radio this morning that Pamela Anderson was in France to lend her celebrity to a movement trying to ban foie gras–talk about an uphill climb! Banning foie gras in France? But I applaud her and her efforts. Even the French diners who were interviewed said they thought the procedure to create foie gras was awful, but that it wasn’t going to keep them from eating it. That when they’re eating it, the method of creation doesn’t cross their mind.

And that’s the problem. I also ignored what was on my plate until I couldn’t ignore it any longer.

It helps that I’m a fairly committed animal lover. My brother tells me cows are the stupidest animals around (he worked with them when he was younger), so he has no qualms about eating them. They’re intelligence makes no difference to me. I can’t bear the idea of animals heading to the slaughterhouse when we, thankfully, have the ability to eat well without eating meat.

 

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