Wednesday, May 31, 2006

We're Normal. Thanks, Memorial Day.

Ever since we bought the grill, we feel different. Cleaner, better, more capable of heating meat.

We live next to some very serious PETA employees. Maybe this is why we haven't bought a grill, lo these many long years. Buying a grill and then using it to cook anything but, you know, peppers or something, would seem like a political statement. We're really not prepared to be political about something so incidental as dinner. So, we haven't bought one. Even though the neighbors on the other side have one. Even though our little deck seems empty and lonely without one. We exercised restraint. We're decent folk, and not prone to the aggressive and public preparation of food that might offend. After all, PETA people are good people, and why cause a fuss?

This year, however, the PETA people next door have been really bossy about our cat, who sometimes escapes into the world when I'm trying to get a basket of laundry out to the mud room. He always comes back in, having eaten a bird or engaged in some other atrocity, and he's been living cheerfully like this, with maybe a weekly walkabout, for 12 years. The vet says he's in perfect health, but the neighbors went so far as to promise (threaten) to take him to a shelter "where he can live indoors." While I understand about cats outside and whatnot, this seemed a bit thick.

So, we wondered, as Memorial Day dawned, and my husband felt the old familiar itch to spray liquid fuel all over a pile of rocks and then set them on fire, why are we being so sensitive?

Here's Dan opening the flammable rocks, after spending quite a long time putting the grill together:

And here are Dan and Benny standing over the grill, with a satisfactory little fire raging away inside:

Later, around the dinner table, we felt surprisingly little guilt. Benny, who is mostly a vegetarian anyway, by his own choice, preferred to eat a hamburger "without meat." As he lovingly chewed up his sesame seed bun, he said very encouragingly, "DAD! I love what you grilled!!! Except for the meat." And he's never even read a PETA flier. Imagine. :)

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