Oatmeal Girl

3 Jan

My school is known for, among other things, its eccentricity.  It’s not every day that you have the opportunity to walk next to a boy dressed up as a hotdog or a girl that wears a feather hat.  With their quirky personalities and outside-the-box thinking, these students are aptly called the Goucher Characters.  Think of a superhero or an interesting character from your favorite children’s book, and that’s what you get at Goucher– Feather Hat Girl, Hotdog Boy, and the (now defunct) Pirates Club.  If you decide to wear something a little more snazzy than the rest of the hipsters on campus or choose to act somewhat questionably, your fate as a Character is more or less sealed.

Which is why one day on the trek back to my dorm from breakfast, I came to the realization that I might have become Goucher’s very first Oatmeal Girl.

My destiny as the next (or first, since these sort of things are more urban legend and lore than concrete fact) Oatmeal Girl has not always been set in stone.  In fact, if you asked my younger self to choose between marshmallows dancing and bobbing in chocolate milk and lumpy oats from the scary pirate-looking guy, I would dive my spoon into the sugar-laden cereal with unprecedented gusto.  So how did my quasi-obsession with oatmeal develop?   Good question– all I know is that I have eaten it for breakfast almost every day for the past five years.  Maybe it’s habit (my body is now mechanized to make oatmeal in the morning), maybe its health (it is full of fiber and a good source of whole-grains), maybe even history (my grandma has eaten oatmeal for forever)– all I know is that when there’s oatmeal, I eat it.   Quick, old-fashioned, steel-cut– it has all made its way down my esophagus into the rumble-tumble of my tummy.

Part of the allure of oatmeal is its ability to be transformed simply or extravagantly, depending on your tastes or time available.  It can be roasted in the belly of an oven with nuts, spices, and oil to become granola or it can be nuked for one minute tout seul. (by itself)  Additionally, it’s an easy way to bulk up on carbs if you’re an athlete searching for a food that won’t cause your stomach to flare up.  Essentially, in my totally unbiased opinion, oatmeal is a power food that is constantly shoved to the back by cereals chock-full of synthetic vitamins, flavor additives, and ingredients that take at least two tries to pronounce correctly.

So it is without surprise that I have dined on oatmeal on an almost daily basis at college.  I ladle out the steaming oats from their steel cauldron into my bowl, layering brown sugar and raisins between the layers of oatmeal.  As the days went by in my first semester, my stomach noticed that the bowls provided at school were sort of meager compared to those at home.  So I began to ladle the oatmeal into venti-sized coffee cups.  When those mysteriously disappeared, I resorted to bringing my own bowl to the dining hall.  Rather than having a small cup like the other oatmeal-eaters on campus, I had my own veritable cauldron of oats.  Let me emphasize that it is not really normal to BYOB (bring your own bowl) to a school cafeteria, let alone to use that bowl for oatmeal.  Each day, I would plop the oatmeal into my bowl, often draining the cafeteria’s supply of oatmeal to the disgruntlement of the people behind me.  My friends began to joke that if I wasn’t careful, I would become known for my oatmeal-eating abilities.  The feasibility of this happening didn’t strike me until I realized that there was some truth to their jokes– and hence the inception of Oatmeal Girl.

When you have a certain eccentric habit that is repeated on an almost daily basis (such as eating oatmeal from a huge bowl), you are basically setting yourself up for becoming a Character.  Thus, I am all too prepared to go back to campus to embrace my alter-ego, Oatmeal Girl.  The only thing in my way– they will no longer be serving oatmeal at my usual breakfast haunt.  Bummer…guess I will have to provide my own oatmeal OR choose a new breakfast food.

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