When I buy a new kind of cereal from the grocer I tend to get far too excited for a 31 year old shopping alone.
You see, there are seemingly solid and endless walls of cheap cardboard that separate me from the tasty, if not incredibly dry, morsels of delight.
The magnificent aisle with its dizzying arrays of color promises me magical flavor combinations from cookies to combs of honey to puffs of peanut butter to some semblance of fruit in loop form.
And milk, always with milk. Just enough until you see the cereal rise ever so slightly in the bowl.
I spend far longer than what is considered socially acceptable in the grandest hall of halls. I pace up and down the aisle as if I were Kim Jong-un inspecting the Korean People's Army.
*Mmm, yes. Very good.* I see my choice and the stars align. I can’t be certain, but I believe someone began to sing in the voice of heralding angels. (The noise may have been coming from me.)
The store associate approaches me with a look of concern. I gently make my selection and lower the crunchy sustenance into its awaiting chariot of plastic and steel.
As I do, I am careful not to break eye contact with the store associate who now appears frozen in place as if he too is mesmerized by the wonders of toasted squares dusted in cinnamon.
I wheel the package away, nestled safely next to my thirteen boxes of lasagna - flash frozen to preserve freshness and flavor - and head to the final decision maker.
If she approves of my selection, she will accept my money so that I can leave her domain and be with my prizes.
I am, in a way, freeing these selfless cereals and allowing them to serve their one true purpose in life.
As usual, my selections are impeccable and she accepts my money. I have yet to disappoint the decision makers of this land.
I can no longer contain my excitement as I beam and clutch this glorious item to my chest for I know what treasures lie inside.
A sticker? A ring? Perhaps, dare I say, a figurine? One day, one glorious day, that treasure will be excavated from its dusty tomb. But not today.
No, I'm an adult and I know it must wait until the morning.
*Or does it?* A titillating thought. I do a poor job of hiding my elation behind a mask of a quivering smile as I run from the store clutching the cereal in both hands.
The cashier cheers me on with an odd bit of chant: “Lasagna! Lasagna!”
As I sit here, self-inflicting microscopic wounds to the roof of my mouth with each heaping spoonful, I am both delighted and saddened.
I am, after all, an alone 31-year-old eating cereal for dinner his empty apartment. But I have my prize.