01 March 2009

Breakfast Cereal

You wince in reaction to the coldness of the wood laminate floor on your barefoot. It is always this cold and yet it always seems colder on the first step than it has ever been. You take another step and wince again. Though the shock of the first foot on the coldness prepared you for the second, nothing can ever really prepare you for the sensation of bare flesh on cold floors, especially first thing in the morning. You carefully pick your way over to the cupboard, pausing for a moment to remind yourself why you are not still in bed. Work, you tell yourself, you have things that need to be done and they won't get done unless you leave the warm comforts of your bed. You open the cupboard door, one solitary bowl greets you. Its tall dark sides beckon you to take it, fill it and enjoy your morning. You reach in and grab it, gently cradling the smooth textures in your palms. Both of you have been waiting all night for this. Okay, maybe you haven’t been waiting all night but you are certainly looking forward to it now.

You move over to the drawer that almost glides open by itself. You look at the cloth covering the drawer bottom, not at all disappointed by your choice of not one or two, but three different spoons, a level of selection you haven’t enjoyed for several days now. You reach for the middle spoon passing by the long, narrow handled spoon that looks like it may be painful enough to hold much less actually eat with. Besides the spoon is far too large for the delicate work that will be needed this morning. You feel the gentle curves of the thin spoon in your hand, not your favorite spoon but it will work just the same. A smirk comes across your face, how could the clear cylindrical handled spoon that lay to the far right of the drawer even hope to be taken seriously at this early hour and for such a delicate task as eating breakfast. You push the drawer closed with your hip, not even bothering to give it a second glance. The chosen thin curved spoon will do nicely.

The spoon and bowl are both gently laid on the counter. You hesitate for a moment, they felt so good to be in your hands and now you have parted company. Just for a minute, you tell yourself, it is a necessary separation. You turn and reach over to the small high cabinets over the fridge. The floor isn’t any warmer but your feet are now used to the cold treatment. You grab the red colored box and in a single swift motion you pivot back around to your bowl and spoon while flipping the cardboard tabs with your thumb. The bowl is crying out to be filled. Its cries are only silenced for a moment as you hastily pull the cloudy plastic bag straight, at least straight enough to pour. The box seems to know what needs to be done and tips itself towards the bowl release a stream of tan colored cereal with small multicolored pieces. Each piece has a shape but they are all moving too fast to notice. The box slowly tips back to an upright position signaling the end of the exchange.

A short stream of milk hits the cereal adding a glistening white to the dark colors of the bowl, the tan from the cereal and the plethora of colored pieces. You pour just a bit of milk, not as much as you normally would, but enough that the cereal is wet. The milk to cereal ratio is most important, more so than science could ever appreciate. With bowl and spoon in hand you sit down on the couch, sinking into the deep cushions to enjoy this delicious nutrition.  You slowly begin the delicate work of fishing out the hard tan pieces of cereal, being careful to not capture any of the multicolor marshmallows. You carefully maneuver your thin handled spoon, weaving patterns through the milk, moving in and out of the marshmallows that are eager to cling to the spoon and the crunchy pieces of the cereal. Like a tiny glacier winding through a mountain range your spoon gathers together cereal until it is too full to collect any more.

A glacier would have just dumped all the material forming a hill that would jut up out of the ground. You however are not a glacier and instead lift the spoon to your eagerly opening mouth. You close your eyes as your hand guides the cereal laden spoon inside your gaping maw. Instinctually you drag the smooth bottom of the spoon across your lower lip being careful to make sure any remaining marshmallows can safely drop back into the waiting bowl below. Your upper lip closes around the handle. The chosen spoon is forced to deposit its contents into your mouth as you slowly pull it through tightly pursed lips. With the spoon safely out of the way your mouth starts to work. Just as your lip knew to scrap the bottom of the spoon so your jaw knows what to do with the spoon gone. It begins the work of breaking down the hard cereal. This is not your favorite part of eating the cereal, but still you enjoy it if only for the pleasure you know will come later. Your tongue tells you the pieces are small enough, you swallow and eagerly begin the process again.

If any boss, teacher or friend ever needed proof of your dedication and relentless determination this is all they would need to see. You repeat the process over and over with unwavering concentration until finally there is no cereal left, just marshmallow. You smile as you tilt your head back and slurp in the perfect mixture of marshmallow and sugar rich milk. This is why you braved the cold floor.

Now honestly, which is better, the thousand word above or the picture below?

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