What do you do when you have to sit through a very stressful film about how corporate America is destroying the planet, and the screening takes place in a night club so everyone else has a drink in their hand to take the edge off, and you’re trying to keep it together with a glass of water? And also? You used up your last prescription bottle of Xanax and don’t plan to get it refilled for various reasons, the least of which is the plastic bottle.
I found myself in that condition Wednesday night, seeing the film Tapped for the 3rd time and feeling just as angry as I did the first time I saw it. Tapped, which I reviewed last year, is all about the bottled water industry and covers infuriating information most people are unaware of. Wednesday’s screening was hosted by SF Surfrider, who invited me to come and talk to people about ways to live with less plastic. So I did that and got into an argument with one of the sponsors (and his brain-splittingly strong cologne) trying to convince me of all people that his reusable plastic bottles were awesome.
After the screening, on the way to the BART station, I spotted a Mexican restaurant still open and ducked inside. I wasn’t hungry. At all. I was stressed out. And I could almost imagine myself ordering a pork burrito and wolfing it down with a Negra Modelo beer: imagine myself taking out my stress on a pig. And that’s the thing, isn’t it? Every day there are farm and slaughterhouse workers who DO take out their aggressions on defenseless animals. And people who beat their pets or children or partners. Or force their animals to fight one another.
Who among us is not susceptible to violent feelings?
God help me if I should ever become “holier than thou” on this blog. I didn’t eat the pig that night, choosing instead to inflict harm on a bean and cheese burrito. But this compulsive eating is a way to stuff down feelings that arise when I bump up against harsh reality. When the problems in the world feel so overwhelming. When I’m scared and anxious.
Oh, and THEN the server tried to give me my burrito on a disposable plastic plate!
I’m not in that restaurant now. I’m sitting here at my desk with my kitties sleeping in the window, and yet I’m getting stressed out all over again just having these thoughts. The sun is out and I think I’ll go for a walk instead of opening the refrigerator and stuffing myself with the first thing I see.
Two weeks ago, my meditation teacher asked me to stop hiding. But man, that’s hard sometimes.