Sunday, July 31, 2016

Uncharted Breakfast Territory

Opened up the packet of Uncle Tobys Oats this morning to be greeted by a slippery little silverfish heading for the outside of the packet in his vain attempt to evade detection. A flick of the finger fixed him, so checked the contents to make sure nothing was eaten, an easy thing to do as my oats are not the loose variety, you know, real rolled oats. Rather, they are in little individual sachets, in blueberry, strawberry and triple berry flavours, so it was actually the paper that was the object of the silverfish’s desire, not the oats.

No damage done, but I should’ve known to put them in a plastic container, a practice long ago adopted when living in Queensland, the cockroach State, where if you don’t have everything in your pantry in screw top jars or impenetrable containers, those creepy crawlies will find their way into every food bearing packet they can find. Getting off the track a bit, let’s get back to the issue in hand.

For as long as I can remember, I have not been able to eat porridge. It was a staple at breakfast time when I was a little tacker, so something horrendous must have happened to me in my pre-memory stage to set me on a lifetime path of porridge hate. The look of it, the smell of it, the very blahness of it. Well-meaning attempts over the years to convince me of its nutritional benefits had no effect as I breathed in that nauseating aroma and gagged as I swiftly removed myself from the general vicinity.

Toast was and is always my preferred option, cereal now and again if I’m in the mood. So, what prompted this sudden inexplicable decision to buy some Uncle Tobys Oats and eat what my doctor’s been suggesting for years? Well, firstly they just happened to be on special, and I’d been contemplating making said purchase for a while but hadn’t quite plucked up the courage. Secondly, it seemed an appropriate choice seeing as winter had set in. And thirdly, my digestive system seems to have forgotten how to work all on its own, to the point where I recently had to be wheeled into a little operating room so some nice doctor could shove a little camera down my gut and take pretty pictures of my insides.

Nothing too alarming down there, but thought I’d be proactive and add a little more fibre to the morning ritual. More often than not, the weekday breakfast routine involves eating a slice of toast with vegemite on the way to work then having the first cuppa of the day somewhere between morning tea and lunchtime depending on how busy the morning is, so any change was going to be an improvement.

But I had to plan this. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to eat a bowl of what looks like regurgitated baby food without some accompanying disguise. Headed up the far end of the supermarket for a packet of frozen mixed berries, from Chile mind you, what’s wrong with good Aussie berries, doesn’t anyone do frozen Aussie berries? I’d prefer to buy local fresh berries, but in the quantities I need I’ll never be able to afford to keep up the supply, so frozen berries it is from the other side of the world.

Armed with berry disguise and a sachet of triple berry oats, I ventured where I had not gone for well over sixty years. The ping of the microwave announced the beginning of the experiment, so with stoic gusto I tucked in and polished off the lot in about sixty seconds. Despite my initial scepticism I have to admit it was actually palatable. Not as satisfying as vegemite on toast, but it did actually fill the hole and I wasn’t hungry again until lunchtime, which presumably is the whole point of breakfast anyway.

They haven’t been on special again, but I have been back to buy a second packet, and am now nearly due for the third, so the experiment must’ve worked. Somehow I managed to break through the psychological or physiological or whatever barrier was preventing me from evaluating where the refusal came from and how to overcome it.

Maybe I should make a list of all the other areas in my life where some supposedly invisible barrier causes me to see the task as a hill too hard to climb which then prevents me from moving forward. Now, that would include writing first and foremost, attending meetings, writing, filling in business credit application forms, cleaning windows, writing, reading and understanding TV, DVD and sound system instruction manuals, exploring the capabilities of my computer that after all these years still remain a mystery, painting the spare bedroom, laundry and loo, the last rooms which have never been repainted since moving here in ’95, the list could be rather extensive if I thought about it long enough. Oh yeah, then there’s writing, the biggest brick wall of all to clamber over.

Well, it might have taken more than sixty years to conquer the oatmeal barrier, so while there’s life there’s hope, but then again, you can’t rush these things.