People are funny with their responses when I describe who I am or what I do. I am a gay surgical nurse who is vegetarian. That is me in the simplest of terms. There are not a lot of adjectives to comprehend. A person upon hearing this does not need the newest edition of Webster's to figure out any of the terms I just used.
The fact that I am a surgical nurse is usually a conversation killer. When standing in a group of new acquaintances and the subject of work comes up, most people describe some sort of desk job which involves thinking about something or pushing papers to a subordinate. Upon my turn and I say "surgical nurse" most people respond with a horrified stare. I do not know what is in their mind. Perhaps they imagine me as a scalpel wielding psychopath willing to do an emergency tracheotomy at the slightest sign of respiratory distress. The other picture is usually of me elbows deep in someone's abdomen covered in gore and pulling out all their internal organs. Both of these are quite far from what I actually do, but the human mind is a vast wasteland filled with nonsense form cable television.
The other response if that of "how noble'. I never think of what I do is noble. I just like helping and caring for people at one of their most vulnerable times, which is when they are under anesthesia and unable to advocate for themselves. There seems to be at times an underlying judgment with that statement though. Like they think that I think that I am better than they are based on my career. Also, very far from the truth. I used to be a government paper pusher until I decided that I could be more fulfilled as a nurse. I make no judgements about how others make a living.
The responses to the fact that I am a gay man are to numerous to mention, but usually range from acceptance to a silent acknowledgment. I luckily have not had too many truly horrific responses to this utterance.
The vegetarian thing is the one that most people have the hardest time wrapping their heads around. This revelation is usually followed by a grocery list of meat, poultry, and seafood products that I am asked if I eat. I want to scream as the quizzing continues, "None of these items is a vegetable, so I do not eat it!!!" But in the interest of enlightenment and education, I politely answer each and every question.
I have never liked seafood and always had weird issues around meat and poultry, in as much as it did not take much to put me off my meal. Quite a few people want to offer helpful nutritional advice about proteins and supplements. I politely listen, and then disregard most advice as misinformed about modern vegetarianism and how we get our nutritional needs met. I do just fine and have come off my medications for various diseases of prosperity by making the switch. I also feel much better than I have in years.
Desert living has been good to me in that I live in a beautiful place with a simple way of life and am trying to leave less of a footprint on the planet everyday.
I invite you to follow my blog as I continue this funny and interesting journey in desert living.