Introducing Kai and Plasma, two traveling ladies of the streets who came up to ask me if I could give them money to help replace their boyfriends with rats. I mean, how does one say no to this question? I ended up on a literal rat race around New York City that took two days and brought into sharp focus some interesting questions for me about the morality around animal rights.
What I always find to be incredible, is that somehow our worth is locked into home ownership. One of the most vicious capitalistic reinforcements, where if you live on the streets you become invisible and not worthy of compassion.
These girls were not drug addicts, they were women who had had difficult upbringings and had become used to a life hopping fright trains, seasonal work (they pick blueberries and weed!)and a revolving roster of men who take advantage of them.
Kai, a Native America who left her reservation to find a better life and with brutal trappings of little education on the reservation fell into stripping (her stripper name was Pocahantas, worst) and a transient life. Plasma, a Bosnian immigrant, whose boyfriend had just OD'd on heroin, was looking for an animal companion so she could have a reason to live, and something to look forward to.
I had to think a lot about my own morality about my consumption of meat, leather, my obsession over my one sacred pet and then neglect of other forms of animal cruelty. I can't decide if I did the right thing. It felt right. I don't know yet where I get this weird compass about animal rights, what is an ok animal to eat and wear, why I have strong feelings about Fur, but not leather. Why I think it's ok to eat chicken and not veal. Our barometer as humans is so fucked up about what we will and won't take a moral high ground on. As this clearly meth addicted manager of Petco stared at me with total contempt, I hated him. I hated him so much. But why did I have the right to hate him for standing up for his beliefs no matter if they were held together by duct tape and sheer determination.
Either way, Pepe, the skunk is thriving, and and I'll post photo updates soon.
Special thanks to my new editor Katherine Rae Mondo. She is the only reason I have an episode this week.