As a vegan animal lover and uncompromising defender of their total liberation from human oppression for food, clothing, experimentation, and entertainment, this week’s theme from Where’s My Backpack? is naturally right up my alley!!
Some good friends and I were eating dinner at my favorite restaurant, Wheel of Life in Irvine (100% vegan Thai food that even meat eaters go crazy for!, owned and run by FOURTH-GENERATION vegan, Victor, 66 years vegan and still lookin no more than early-50s, with his infamous catchphrase–VEGAN POWAH!!); when I spotted a guy eating soup at a table outside with his buddy draped over his shoulders. Apparently he got her when she was “even smaller” from the shelter. I’ve always loved snakes, ever since my veterinarian Aunt Janet had a garter snake whom I would hold, who would wrap himself around my little 7-year-old arm, and who would dip his head into Janet’s fishbowl and gobble up goldfish. But I’ve never held a snake this big. It was a spectacular experience; you can truly feel the life in every square inch of their bodies, muscles pulsing, pulling, as they slither atop your torso. There was something totally humbling about it–knowing that if Baby decided she didn’t like me or didn’t like what I was doing, she could wrap herself around my neck and squeeze the life out of me. A possibility I was minorly concerned about: “How will I know if she gets upset?” I asked her guardian. “Oh,” he said, “well, she’ll squeeze your jugular and you’ll pass out in about 15 seconds.”
I laughed, and enjoyed the experience even more. I absolutely LOVE any experience where I am humbled by nature or nonhuman animals; it makes me appreciate them even more, reminding me of why I love and fight for them, reinforcing and validating my knowledge that humans are just one species of millions, that we are not the pinnacle of evolution or the point of evolution, that every creature and wild space is marvelous and worthwhile for their own reasons, irrespective of human usefulness or greed or desire.