Monday, April 21, 2008

Jasmin Avenue, California USA

I write to you from Orange County, California, where I'm attempting to warm up my freezing cold motel room. I'm here assisting in outreach on the historic Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, which, if passed, would ban three of the cruelest confinement systems for farm animals--battery cages, gestation crates, and veal crates.
California for Humane Farms is a coalition of animal protection organizations, spear-headed by the fabulous Farm Sanctuary and HSUS, as well as many other smaller animal protection organizations. If you've read my blog before, you know that I am the outreach coordinator for Farm Sanctuary, the nation's leading farm animal protection organization. We have worked with thousands of volunteers to gather 800,000 sigantures from people who want to see this on the ballot in November--and it worked! Mainly through volunteers, we have gained enough signatures to bring the vote to the people.

Anyone who doesn't think that vegans travel around in style have not seen Black Beauty. That's the name of the truck I'm traveling around in, with Jason P. driving Miss Jasmin. The truck has 3 80-inch screens, and at night we show footage of factory farming. During the day, the screens are covered with messaging tarps--and oh my, the looks we get...

Jason P. and I started our day out with french toast and tofu omelets at Real Food Daily in Hollywood, and then headed for Mission Viejo where I spoke to a room full of volunteers who are truly awe-inspiring, to say the least. We showed a bunch of people the truck and then headed to Native Foods, where I had fake chicken that would give Red Bamboo's soul chicken a run for its money. Our waitress, the lovely Megan, walked us back to the truck and gave us a box of vegan doughnut holes for our evening, which we wound up inhaling before we pulled onto the Freeway. Then it was off to Laguna Beach, where we parked BB on a heavy foot-trafficked area. I got out of the truck to call M, and I saw the big black truck in front of me, garnering many uncomfortable glances. In back of me was the Pacific Ocean, full of bon-fires on the sandy beaches. Boy oh boy, did I feel zaftig. The street we parked on was called "Jasmine Ave," but they mistakenly had an "e."

We headed back to Lake Forest, where I sit in my motel room now, which is only slightly warmer than when I started this entry.

Before I left for California, I was bitching about this and that. I won't get into the reasons why--such as the fact that marriage such a blatantly unfair privilege and it blows my mind and keeps me up at night that more straight people don't realize that and then stand in solidarity with those not so lucky, until we are--and so both M and Dezz keep saying "267, 267," over and over again, and here's why:

Every second in this country, that is the amount of chickens killed for food. 267. Puts things in perspective, yes? So I left the house and got it tattooed on my left wrist: 267. A gentle reminder, a not-so-gentle reminder, a powerful conversation starter, a morbid moment... A romantic gesture, even, since that figure came from an article that M co-wrote. Okay, maybe not romantic...

I also had a V added to another tattoo of mine.

V for Vendetta, of course.

Tomorrow, off for Ventura, then Santa Barbara, and then back to LA...

One last thing... I said to a bunch of wealthy Californians that Thursday I was going back to "the city." That's how I said it: "the city."

"I'm sure you're talking about Trenton," said Jason P.

As if there were only one city...

Well, there's only one city for me...And I miss Her.