How a Traffic Jam Changed my Life

Submitted by Cristina Garcia on 5/5/17

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Bumper to bumper traffic congested the small highway.  The cars, trucks, and RVs moved slowly and rhythmically.  The monotonous movements led to additional boredom and bickering with my annoyance of a brother.  After arguing over who deserved control of the radio, I retreated and put on my headphones with as much attitude as a 17 year old girl could possess.

The hours seemed to drag on, but I found ways to deal with the severe boredom. (i.e. pretend I was in a scene of a Hillary Duff music video.)  Despite the stop-and-go flow of traffic, my hypothetical music video continued.

That time of year was upon me – the college search.  My family and I decided to take a road trip to kick off the quest for my future college.  The trip however was completely off schedule due to the nightmare known as Los Angeles highways.

As I longed for clear roads and a speedy arrival, a peculiar silver speckle of light suddenly entered my peripheral vision.  I lowered my window to further observe the sight that caused such distraction.  The scene changed my life forever.  To my absolute horror, the peculiar silver speckle transformed into a large silver trailer that seemed to potentially hold about 25 heads of cattle, but it held almost triple that amount.  The two story trailer had criss-crossed panels that allowed for minimal space to breathe.  As I continued to examine the atrocity of our agricultural transportation system, I noticed that some of the cattle had been smothered in their own feces during the course of the journey.  This ghastly sight caused a tumultuous change within me.  I became utterly disgusted with the treatment of livestock and the helplessness of the animals.  Of course, I realized the necessity of protein for humans, but I could not come to terms with the thought of animals being treated with such little worth.

From that point on, I vowed to refrain from the consumption of meat.  I declared my new title of “vegetarian”, but my parents simply chuckled and brushed off my assertion.  They failed to realize that I would continue this lifestyle until today.  This moment altered how I view the world’s creatures and their importance.

As the traffic began to disperse I heard my mother ask, “Cristina, do you want a beef sandwich before our next stop?”

My response to this day has remained the same, “NO”.

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