Ask an Uptight Seattleite

You've misunderstood my lungta.

Dear Uptight Seattleite,

OK, seriously though, it's time to redecorate. Enough with the tattered Tibetan prayer flags. Please.

Tired of Them Dirty Old Things

Dear Tired,

Perhaps you would have a more meaningful experience of the sacred lungta if you better understood their meaning. The wind blowing through the lungta is intended to create a mind—yours—endowed with a desire to help all sentient beings. You can think of this as a kind of karmic wind power. The wind is your mind, and the people you are inspired to help are like the windmills of your mind. For me, the lungta are also a protest against American support for the invasion of Tibet. I'm hanging colored fabric on my porch; what are you doing for the Tibetan people?

The lungta also show my support for the vegetarian ideals of the Dalai Lama. OK, I do eat meat occasionally. A barbecue, some tomatoes someone grew in their own backyard, something like that—you have to go with the moment. Celebrate the day and love each other. For it and we are all we have. I think the Dalai Lama said that. I'll consult one of the books on my coffee table and get back to you with the exact quote.

Anyway, the point here is that I am a vegetarian. Basically. It's just that I sometimes eat meat. But only out of necessity, to keep from getting scurvy and to exercise compassion toward any well-meaning people who may serve me fresh-grilled hamburgers in their backyards. And even then, it has to be meat from animals that were not forced to consume steroids or participate in any other type of body-building activity. Animals who ranged freely and were killed politely. Like from Breezy Dales Beef in Oregon. They're very reputable. When you look at the Breezy Dales label, with its blue sky and green grass, you can practically smell the fresh air those animals breathed before filling the display cases at Whole Foods with their juicy, chemical-free flesh. It's also important that they were fed a vegetarian diet. Like me.

Dear Uptight Seattleite,

Sometimes when I'm walking down the Burke-Gilman Trail, I'll hear a bicyclist bellow, "On your left!" from somewhere behind me, and I immediately freeze. I feel like I'm doing something wrong and am about to be run over. Isn't it the biker's responsibility to proceed with caution? And if they have to say something, what ever happened to "pardon me"?


Dear Sidewalker,

Now that you mention it, it is sort of funny when I yell "on your left" to pedestrians on the Burke-Gilman and they hop in a panic from side to side. So let's clear this up once and for all. "On your left" means a bicycle is passing on your left, so you should either not move, or move to your right. Let's break it down into an easy-to-remember phrase: "On your left, so maintain your lane, or possibly move to your right." Perhaps you could commit this handy phrase to memory while you're driving around in your car. And pass it along to your fellow nonbicyclist friends. It will make life easier for everyone if you learn how to share the road.

Dear Uptight Seattleite,

Why do bikers here need to wear their Lance Armstrong costumes to go three blocks to the PCC for a box of organic soy milk?

I Ride in My Jeans

Dear Jeans,

Eating correctly is difficult. Everyone is busy, and the world is full of exploitation. Given that, I don't understand why you think soy milk is funny. Do you think sustainability is funny? Well, guess what? It's not. I'll tell you what else isn't funny: lying to children about meat. Our schools are full of industry-sponsored propaganda to poison their bodies and minds.

You probably also think it's hilarious that society is making us fatter and fatter while millions of minorities in Africa starve. Well, that's just plain old racism, and I'm going to call you out on it. Hey, if you like humor, here's a "good one" for you. Stop me if you've heard it before: When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out. That ring a bell? Sorry to "harsh your mellow," but you need to think just a little bit more before you open your mouth to make a "joke." Because you're just going to put your ignorance on display and offend someone. Remember, when you think about anything enough, nothing is funny.

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