Dear Tell All: These days there is a depressing amount of bickering. I was reminded of my own situation by the letter from Waste Not, whose politically correct east-side neighbors chastise him for his overflowing recycling bin ("Recycling Wars," 8/1/2013). I have been subject to a character-assassination campaign by some automobile-dependent acquaintances because of their discomfort with the fact that I don't own a car. This is somewhat surprising since I have never once criticized any of them for their car dependence -- not to their face and not behind their backs (their modus operandi).
According to them I'm a hypocrite because I'm not vegetarian. In fact my meat consumption is, at most, one-quarter of the national average (5.25 pounds per week). It's entirely possible that my meat consumption is lower than theirs. But somehow it's hypocritical to eat even a moderate amount of meat if you oppose our automobile-centered transportation system.
They've even gone so far as to dredge up the old countercultural cokeheads vs. acidheads antipathy from 40-45 years ago. By their account, the fact that I don't entirely conform to the yuppie consensus is a result of too much youthful LSD tripping. Never mind that, judging by what they have said, most of them have done cocaine much more often than I ever did LSD. As a result of their slander, my neighbors and coworkers have all heard that I am some kind of unstable acid casualty.
All of this might just be amusing if it weren't for the fact that there are serious issues people in this country have to deal with. Issues that aren't being dealt with when people spend their energies ridiculing others for their efforts -- imperfect as they might be -- to live right.
Dear Binge Thinker: It's too bad your friends waste so much energy obsessing about your choices. But I have to say, you seem to be wasting quite a bit of energy obsessing about their choices, too. How about just making nice and forgetting about past slights? A good start would be inviting them over for dinner to enjoy 5.25 pounds of meat.
Do you have a question about life or love in Madison? Write Tell All, 101 King St., Madison, WI, 53703. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.