When I was a child, cereal was an integral part of my life. Assured by advertisers that it was “part of a balanced breakfast,” (I guess I assumed that the remaining parts were hidden in the milk and under the snooze button) cereal was always a very respectable start to my day. I’m pretty sure that my desire to read the backs of cereal boxes drove my early reading (do you think that I could sue General Mills for causing my book addiction?).
In the years between adolescence and adulthood, cereal turned into an embarrassing awkward holdover–like the Raggedy Ann doll I refuse to throw away. I don’t know when it happened, but somewhere along the line, it became inappropriate for me, as an adult, to sit down at the kitchen table and eat a bowl of cereal with milk. Sometimes, I find myself hunched over the sink scarfing it down without breath like a lactose tolerant asthmatic in a morning rush, loitering in the pantry stealing it dry from the box deluding myself into skipping the tracking of clandestine calories, under a blanket on the couch when nobody else is home like a bing-y couch eater, or late at night standing in the middle of the kitchen like a criminal trying to pour, soak and crunch as quietly as possible with eyes darting frequently to the doorway to make sure that I’m not found out.
Why has cereal become my secret shame? Are Honey Nut Cheerios really worth giving myself a panic attack? I’m hoping that admitting the problem here in public is the first step to my cereal and milk recovery. I hope that someday, I will feel comfortable enough to sit down with Frosted Mini Wheats and make peace. Until then, if you are a guest at my house, please announce your presence near the kitchen by loudly stomping in the hall. I might be, um, working on a project in there.