Chapter III: The Celery Stalk
You’ve read about the “legend.” The story I like to tell everyone about how I decided to become a vegetarian for the attention of a girl when I was seventeen.
You’ve also read more of the background: What caused me to do this? Was it bound to happen anyway? When will this madness end?
And why am I bringing it up now?
A few weeks back I was cleaning out the closet of my childhood. I found many, many different things (and blogged about it and the impact they made on me). Something which I had mentioned were the countless letters I had from the late 1980s and early ’90s. This was an era immediately before I entered the internet age. (Or, at the very least, and age of Internet where I could communicate with my youth group and school friends.) There was a whole bunch of mail — some of which was typically emotional of us as teenagers, some of which was just plain silly. There were letters way above my comprehension level, and letters which you could tell were written simply because of obligation. Some were written on beautiful stationery; some were written on the back of a piece of used notebook paper.
I also kept the envelopes. It’s amazing how unique they were — often decorated. Colorful. Stickers and stuff. And how they would address me — whether using my real name or just “Shiny.” It was quite the personalized experience — something to you usually don’t see when someone sends you email. Or a Facebook message. Or an IM.
I re-read some of Robin’s letters. She talked about her life — about her college search, about the people from our group with whom she was in touch. We’d reminisce. We’d make plans if we were in the same geographic area. She was a good friend — and it was plainly obvious from re-reading them that I was way more into her than she was into me. Even so — she was great at corresponding. Our contact fizzled out around the beginning of college when we had other things to do.
And since then I’ve moved on. I’ve grown into the person I am today. I’ve established new relationships — especially one with my best friend over the past twelve years which has given me a roommate for life and a five year-old hyperactive yet cute child. We have our ups and downs, but we’re very happy. Even though we’re a “mixed marriage” — in that I’m an herbivore and she’s an omnivore.
In fact, we were recently profiled by our local Jewish newspaper which was doing a story about “mixed marriages” such as ours. It was interesting to see that our household was not alone. (We already knew that, in fact — my parents, too, had a mixed marriage similar to ours.) The story was a cute piece that made me think more about that decision.
And that, coupled with the re-emergence of the letters that I had from Robin, made me curious about something: I had these specific memories which defined who I was and what I would eat. What was her take on this? Did my vegetarianism ever reach her radar? How about my high school crush? (Yeah. Let’s call it what it is.) How did being a vegetarian work out for her?
Is she still a vegetarian?
If I never discover these answers — that’s fine. I have enough control over my own life to make my own decisions about being a vegetarian. But it would be interesting to find out what happened from a different vantage point. So I came to a decision:
I’m going to try to find Robin.
And when I do, I’m going to tell her this story. The story of how I became a vegetarian because of her.
And if she doesn’t hang up on me immediately — I’m going to ask for her reaction.
I won’t use unconventional methods to find her. And if I’m told, at any point of the journey, to back off — I will. Inasmuch as this had ben coined by one of my friends (somewhat jokingly) as a “celery stalk,” I don’t want to make this an uncomfortable experience. And you know what? I doubt it will be. Robin had a great sense of humor nineteen years ago, and I have no doubts that she does now as well.
Let the detective work begin…