Slide 8: In Austin, Texas I saw my first slaughter.
What’s funny is I haven’t seen it yet. I am writing down a future imaginary, I am committing it to real.
I have no idea how I will respond to the experience. It could be incredible: uplifting, transcendent, or terrifying. I might run, vomit, cry, shit my pants.
I might gasp out loud, make some sounds involuntarily, and only realize afterward that I was the one who made them.
I might not be able to watch.
Will the animal look at me? Will I be looking in its eyes at the exact moment of death?
Will I ask to take a cut of that meat, of that animal, will I be able to fathom the connection, life to mouth, to actually walk the whole path? Shit.
Will I be able to watch hanger steak ground up to become a burger? Will taking the steak as a Steak feel more respectful?
What if there is still meat in the grinder, what if the burger isn’t just my animal anymore? What if it is tainted, disrespectfully mashed together with some other meat from some other animal, what if the meat becomes JUST MEAT?
And maybe that moment, the moment of death, won’t be the climax at all. Maybe it will be the sound of the door as I leave, or words spoken by another human, living. The thing about trying to imagine and predict what will come is that we can’t know. Which has not yet stopped me from trying, ever, or from making up stories, or spending days at a time living in them.
In five days the infinite possible imaginary moments will all be killed. I will wake up that morning with a knife in my hand and run around killing all the ways that I THOUGHT the day might go. Then I will do what we always do: take it step by step, drive a mile at a time, and wait, and see.