It's three minutes to three on a Monday morning. I'm sitting in my dressing gown having just eaten a bowl of Granola. I went forty years without knowing that Granola even existed, and I still don't have a really deep understanding of it, but up until a few moments ago it seemed invested with almost magical powers.
At 2.30 am, I was laying awake, listening to the general low hum of non-specific anxiety trying to force itself to the front of my mind. This whine of worry immobilised me, but not to the point of unconsciousness, that would have been too easy. It occurred to me that I should get up and go downstairs - not to shoot myself, or start writing a novel, not even to draw up some diagrams and make detailed plans to get me out of the mostly bullshit existential hole I was looking up out of. Instead, I decided that a bowl of Granola would sort me out, that a bowl of Granola was just what I needed, a bowl of Granola would help. But it hasn't helped, it hasn't helped at all.
I don't blame the Granola, it doesn't make any claims for itself as a solution to anything, not even on the box. But my faith in it as something other than a sweet, high calorie breakfast food is indicative of the way we live now, where everything buyable and gettable comes charged with a meaning and purpose borne out of desperation, like a quest for the missing piece that will complete your jigsaw. And, yes, that's how it is with Granola: I didn't have it before, I don't need it now, but I somehow feel that eating a bowl of it will make me feel better about myself. The Granola is a smartphone, or a big telly; it's a holiday, or toast rack muscles; new shoes, new car, new car smell. In my head, it's ambrosia smothered in nectar and served in the Holy Grail. In reality, it's a bucket of distraction, with a cold glug of real life poured over it. The fact is that it will not complete me, or make me a better person, nothing will: I'm already fully formed; for better or worse, this is it.
I've got to be up at 7. I normally have Granola first thing, so now I'll have to think of something else. More problems. Yet another new day ruined by unrealistic expectations.