In June, I accidentally ate some Canadian bacon. It was hidden in the supposedly meatless frittata that I ordered. I’d eaten a few bites before I suddenly spied an unmistakable pink shred of…
“What is this?” I asked the counter girl, whom I knew from prior visits to the cafe.
I was incredulous. I’d specifically asked if the frittata contained meat and then specifically ordered the meatless option. Who but a non-meat-eater would go through the trouble of asking?
The girl apologized and offered me a salad. In retrospect, I should’ve accepted the gesture, to be gracious, to be a bigger person. But, in the moment, I was upset and made a quick exit.
Why was I so upset? It’s not as if beef, pork, or poultry have never touched my lips. I ate meat as a kid in Hawaii. Moreover, I currently eat fish, eggs, and dairy, so I cannot claim to be non-harming to animals.
But I like to be in control of what I do. If I’d deliberately decided to eat meat, that’s one thing. I didn’t choose, however, to eat bacon in that frittata, at that cafe, on that day.
A couple months later, I stopped at a light on Alcatraz Ave, facing Shattuck Ave, in Berkeley-Oakland, my old stomping grounds. Suddenly someone rear-ended my rental car.
After the crash, I sat still for a moment, almost visualizing the trajectory of my planned day/week/trip/life, shooting forward like an arrow, but now stopped short, stuck in a wreck. Then I jumped out, in case the gas tank was on fire.
Fortunately no one was injured. The other driver’s car (see below) was totaled, and my 2013 Nissan Versa (see right) was barely drivable, but my body was fine: no whiplash.
I was relieved to be staying with good friends in Rockridge and in San Francisco, and my trip continued on its merry way. I rode BART and MUNI, revisited my favorite Berkeley Bowl, and attended an energizing workshop with Iyengar yoga teacher Marla Apt.
Like the bacon frittata incident, the car accident happened unexpectedly and not by choice. And, likewise, it was ultimately a blip in the big scheme of things.
Every day I read or hear about inconceivable tragedy and irreparable loss. Do I know anything about such struggle and grief? Probably not. Not yet, anyway. Maybe that’s why I still think that things are somewhat under my control. But, of course, much is beyond our control.
When things go wrong, whether in big or little ways, we glimpse who we really are.
Image: Keep Calm and Carry On, Wikipedia