E-Mails for Breakfast

Eggs, bacon, and coffee have become our morning ritual. A routine that includes relaxation, conversation, and many new ideas. We treasure each morning like this, each over-burnt bacon strip, each kind-of-dirty plate, because breakfast was not always like this. Breakfast was not in the thesaurus of life’s pleasantries, nor classified as the day’s most important meal.

A little over one year ago, my mornings habits of consumption involved a granola bar being stuffed into my bag as I stumbled out the door of my Brooklyn apartment. As I walked, spare shoes would topple out and my phone would rhythmically buzz with alerts of new emails. Exiting the building to the sidewalk, trucks and cars would speed by and their momentary presence would disperse the garbage smells up to my nose. It was as though a giant hand would aggressively waft the aromas in my direction at steady intervals. From door to street corner, the emails would persist, and my eyes would flicker from screen to surroundings in practiced staccatos, looking up just long enough to avoid obstacles as I walked at an almost-run. The granola bar sat in my bag pocket. Maybe I could eat it on the subway. The G train platform generally smelled like pee, so that wasn’t always optimal. If the car wasn’t too crowded, and if I had managed to not touch too many surfaces, it could sometimes could be gobbled then. But more often than not, the train was packed sardine-style and the bar would remain uneaten and unloved. At the connecting stop, I would awkwardly walk-run a half mile to the platform where my next magic pumpkin awaited. Every manner of frazzled, annoyed, bag-laden, under-the-gun person congregated there. A full-body cast did not deem you exempt from the violent shoving match that ensued each and every morning. Push by push, the bar got slightly more squished as my hands were needed for the more pressing task of preventing my death-by-trampling. After three more stops and two flights of stairs, I would sometimes chow down on my 11-block power walk to the office-building’s giant foyer. Because that’s healthy, right? At my peak, I was estimating about 1 email read every two blocks which did not always leave time for snacking. It would have to wait until I reached my desk…

There comes a point in those hungry moments when your legs go weak, and your mind can’t stop formulating to-do lists and the email notifications are coming in faster than you can even delete them. It’s a point where you’re perpetually late and the clouds of your brain clear for a second to think…there must be another way. There must be a way to sit down with the person I love for just a few minutes in the morning and see how they’re doing and maybe, just maybe, hear that sizzle of bacon grease.

It’s that moment of hunger – when you still have one mile, three stops, and 16 floors left until your day officially begins – that the mind starts to think new thoughts.

I don’t have to do this. I chose this and I can choose something else.

And that’s what happened. I chose something else. These tin plates of love-doused food would not have been cooked over a camp fire in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho by my boyfriend before a breathtaking hike in the middle of a 5-month road trip had I not decided a year ago that I no longer wanted granola bars and emails for breakfast.