In Takoma Park, Maryland, a nuclear-free zone, where the motto is "bathing is for the bourgeois," something quite astonishing is afoot. Sadly, what is afoot is not Roscoe the Rooster, who used to roam the town until he was killed by . . . an SUV. (There is now a statue to Roscoe there. I kid you not.)
What is afoot in Takoma Park is a reactionary trend toward meat consumption. This trend has even caught the local food co-op between the eyes. (Last summer, someone came up with a slogan "No drumsticks, no peace.")
And it's also caught some of the more fruity members of the populace.
Jennifer Gillispie, 60, said she never imagined that meat consumption would become so conspicuous -- and that she would be one of the guilty ones.I can appreciate the blessing, but asking for forgiveness from the chicken is a little much. And this aptly named woman is even better.
The Takoma Park yoga teacher once told her most devoted students to become vegetarians. Now, she suggests meat eating as a path to karma.
Of her salad days, Gillispie said, "I was forcing my own being to do something that, clearly, that being was saying wasn't working."
Gillispie, who had been a vegetarian for more than 10 years, said she was feeling weak and unmotivated a couple of years ago and didn't know why. When two formerly vegetarian friends suggested a new diet, she figured she had nothing to lose. She went to Whole Foods, ordered half a roasted chicken and found a table.
"I said a blessing, and I asked forgiveness for the chicken. I took one bite -- and it was like all my cells exploded, 'Yes!'" Gillispie recalled. "I ate the whole thing, bones and all. I couldn't get it into my mouth fast enough. People were staring."
Certainly, Takoma Park massage therapist Leslie Sapp isn't preparing meat in a way that someone in Middle America might recognize.One resident worries about what this all portends.
Before she starts cooking dinner, the wispy 46-year-old, who turned to goat bone broth and fish to help her chronic fatigue, says a prayer and humbles herself before the animal, "who has given its life so we may live."
She does, however, have a confession: "It's delicious."
"There could be a chipping away at the liberal, alternative soul of Takoma Park," said Mike Tidwell, 43, an environmental activist. "I would not be surprised if we started seeing a bunch of hybrid SUVs and organic barbecue parties."I merely laugh. As a former semi-vegetarian myself (I was the founder of Reactionary Vegetarians of America, and my motto was "Slaughter cows; don't eat them"), I see that even the principled vegetarians are ultimately unable to resist.
And can you see what's next? Takoma Park lifting its nuclear-free status?