36. Cereal

I can’t turn around without bumping into a big animated pile of breakfast cereal. Wherever I go, it seems to be at my elbow. It can be damned awkward.

For example, it took forever for me to pass my driver’s test, because the tester would always get wigged out by the cereal, and their stress would make me nervous, which would make me drive suboptimally, which would give the tester the opportunity to fail me, thereby exerting some authority in hopes that it would bring some normalcy to the situation. Because, let’s face it: When there’s a big animated pile of breakfast cereal in the back seat, normalcy is exactly what’s called for.

I finally did get my license, though, which indirectly brings us to the present moment. I have driven my car to the mall, and am now at the perfume counter of a major department store. Just behind me and to my left, the animated pile of cereal stands, rustling and crunching quietly to itself as it shifts about in place. The perfume clerk is standing behind the counter, frozen like a deer in the headlights, mouth agape, staring in speechless horror at my breakfasty companion. It is clear that I am not going to get any service today.

Which is unfortunate, because I wanted to buy some perfume for this girl I met a couple months ago and have fallen in love with. Her name is Claire, and the animated pile of breakfast cereal doesn’t seem to bother her at all.

I asked her about it one day. “So, how’s come the cereal doesn’t freak you out?” (At that moment it was reading the Sunday funnies over my shoulder.)

She shrugged one shoulder in that way that I think is so cute. “I don’t know,” she replied. “It just seems so nice. Like a dog or something.” She wrapped a ringlet of hair around her finger and took another bite of her bagel, and I realized at that moment that I really loved her.

And so the plan was hatched to get her the perfume she likes but can’t afford, and to tell her just how much she means to me.

But as a strand of saliva slowly stretches itself floorwards from the lip of the gobsmacked perfume clerk, I can smell an internet purchase in my future. Which means I’ll have to wait for shipping. But should I wait until I have the perfume to tell Claire that I love her, or should I heed the pleading of my heart and unburden myself to her as soon as is humanly possible?

None of this, of course, would be in question if it weren’t for this animated pile of breakfast cereal dogging my every step and making things all complicated. Fucking cereal.

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