Never Done: I ate Halal street meat
Believe it or not, one of the things that has been on my Never Done list all year is to eat Halal street meat, and it's taken me 10 months to get up the courage to do it. A friend I went to graduate school with ate some one night and ended up with horrible food poisoning. The image was so strong for me that I wrote it into my vampire jazz rom com that the vampire, when he is trying to regain his humanity, tries to eat some meat. Instead of throwing up (he does that later when he actually does manage to eat something) he gets freaked out by the wooden skewer (get it? Vampires? Wooden stakes?) that he flees without even trying any.
I wouldn't say that I have a weak stomach, but I would say that it's delicate. So meat that's been on a cart all day under dubious refrigeration has, frankly, scared me. I've had food poisoning. I wouldn't invite it back into my life. On the other hand, people line up to eat this stuff, and so I assume they are not going home every night and hurling.
So I made an ethical decision based on a the mide (middah) from a couple weeks ago: Enthusiasm. I could play it safe and wait til the weather cools down, or I could laugh in the face of my fears and eat street meat on one of the hottest days of the year. And so that's what I did. Chicken and lamb over rice. With grilled onions and fresh parsley and garbanzo beans, and a healthy squirt of green sauce and white sauce. $5.75 for more food than I could possibly eat, under any circumstances. Bring it!
As it turned out, I was heading to a Mussar meeting with two hungry people, so I got to share it with them both -- and neither of them blinked twice at it before tucking in. Which was a great reminder that one person's 8-year fear is another person's every day commonplace delight. Not that we should all become exactly like each other -- that would be tragic actually -- but it is useful sometimes, when you are on the brink of embracing something strange and frightening with forced enthusiasm, to notice that many people find it delightful.