I had an eye-opening experience last night when Dr. D. and I went to dinner with his friend and his friend's wife. I looked forward to getting to know them and actually was the one who suggested inviting them out to dinner.
Dr. D. had mentioned to his friend on the phone that the two of us are on a plant-based diet but I never like to make a big deal out of it when eating out. As always, I checked out the menu ahead of time to see if there was something the kitchen could convert into a vegan dish.
As soon as we sat down, the wife asked me why I'm vegan. I told her I do it for the animals to which she responded, "so you don't feel any better?". I felt like I was being baited but smiled and answered, "I feel better knowing I'm not harming any animals."
"What about eggs? Nothing dies when a chicken lays an egg," she challenged, laughing.
"Have you ever wondered what happens to the male chicks?" I said, with a smile. Always with a smile.
With that, she put up her hand signaling me to stop talking about it. So I stopped.
She ordered the veal.
I said nothing.
She raved about the porterhouse steak she had at another restaurant.
I said nothing.
Despite the fact that I was put on the spot and had my beliefs belittled and challenged, she continued to ask questions in a very offensive way. I answered her questions without defensiveness naively assuming she was truly interested in the answers.
She heard nothing.
It was toward the end of the night (after the last series of questions) when she snapped at me that and told me everyone had a right to make their own food choices and she didn't need someone shoving their views down her throat.
I could no longer say nothing. I calmly and quietly responded with a smile. Always with a smile.
"I'm not shoving my views down your throat. If you're feeling uncomfortable with the answers I'm giving you perhaps it's because I'm touching a compassionate part of you you've forgotten about."
Everyone said nothing.
That's when the dinner ended.