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Everyone wonders from time to time: Is it just me?
Usually, the answer is “no.” But occasionally (for me, at least) the answer seems to be “yes.”
Consider some of the following examples:
I have been a vegetarian for almost 30 years.
If you’re wondering why my parents let their 6-year-old choose to be a vegetarian, you can blame my childhood pediatrician. He was an idiot and gave terrible advice. No one should let their 6-year-old make that choice. But I was also very stubborn and think meat is gross.
Now, being a vegetarian is not the same thing being a vegan.
(Related side note: It is also NOT a pescatarian. So no, world, I don’t eat fish. Or chicken. If you eat chicken, you are not a vegetarian. Urban Dictionary informs me you can call yourself a pollo-pescatarian if what you are is a person that does not eat red meat. But please don’t ask vegetarians if they eat chicken. It annoys us.)
Back to the point, however. I love it when someone invites me to go to a vegetarian or vegan restaurant. I love looking at a menu knowing there will absolutely be something on it that I would eat.
And then I see all the options that include the words “vegan cheese” and “soy sausage.”
Maybe, if you have not eaten cheese in years, vegan cheese can fool your taste buds into believing that it’s something edible that is a reasonable substitute for cheddar. But I eat real romano by the pound and honey, it’s not made from soy.
Now I know there are those of you who have severe dairy allergies and can’t eat real cheese. (I’m so sorry for you!) Or those of you who have serious ethical objections to dairy farming. And since every vegan restaurant I enter has “cheese” and “meat” made out of tofu and soy, there are lots of people who eat–and enjoy?–those things.
But I’m not one of them. And I just don’t get it. When I want cheese, I want this:
I love passionate people. Occasionally, people’s passions drive me a little crazy, but I like to try to understand why people feel the way they do, even if they are driving me up a wall. After all, I get that not everyone wants to read about princess competitions, a telepathic elf, or sparkly vampires (if you need a link for that one, I’m confused about how you got here). But nothing confuses me more than people who are passionate about exercise.
Multiple people I know–my brother-in-law, a friend from high school, a college roommate, to name a few–have been horrified when I say that I tolerate my workouts. “But if you don’t find a work out you love, you won’t keep it up!” And then they go on to tell me how much they love racquetball, BeachBody, or Zumba and how I HAVE TO find a work out I love to do or I’m going to quit.
I work out regularly because it’s good for my health. My grandmother has crippling osteoporosis. Both my grandfathers died of a heart attack. I don’t want to end up crippled or dead before my time. So I’m committed. Because I love my husband and child and my health. Not because sweating or planks or weight-lifting or squats or any of the rest of it is fun.
For me, fun is the swoony YA book I’m going to read post workout. But if you’re one of those people who gets hot and bothered by spin class or barre class or cross fit? Good for you. Just try to accept that there are people out there who don’t love their work outs but do them dutifully anyway.
Ok, I admit I’m a hypocrite.
Because just like people who are passionate about exercise are sure I haven’t found the right workout yet, I believe that people who claim to hate reading just haven’t found the right book yet.
My sister used to claim to dislike reading. What she disliked was what she was assigned in school and my taste in books. (I was the oldest. She got my hand-me-downs.) To this day, our taste only overlaps in slivers. She loved The Hunger Games, but she wouldn’t even consider trying Harry Potter or Twilight. And I’m not about to read the latest memoir she’s raving over–I can almost guarantee you the author battled depression, addiction, and/or has found success as a woman in the business world, none of which interest me when I want to be entertained.
Despite my history as a former middle school English teacher, I’m not an elitist about reading. If you like comic books, read them. But that means you do like reading. If you inhale magazine articles about fashion or pop culture on the internet? Also reading. If you’re like my engineer husband and will research anything (from obscure political theory to what type of light bulbs or trashcan we should buy), that’s also reading. It may not be what I think of when I plan to curl up with a good book, but if it brings you joy? Have at it.
The people who are the most mysterious to me are the acquaintances I have that don’t read or watch much TV. These are usually the ones who have curated Pinterest boards that exhaust me to look at them. These acquaintances are horrified by me when I tell them that I don’t care how easy it is to knit a scarf, I buy mine at the store. And I’m sure that if I found these crafty-types a book about to construct a playhouse from scrap yarn, they’d devour the whole thing.
Are there “normal” things that you don’t get? Other people’s passions/beliefs that have you rolling your eyes or gaping in horror? Let’s discuss!