The Meaninglessness of Cereal Cafes

From time to time, I’m confronted with the absurdity of life – the complete ridiculousness of everything.

There was a time long ago when these realisations would make me laugh. I’d be sitting at work one day, thinking about shoes. Like, how crazy are shoes when you truly think about them? Ok, they protect our feet, so they’re somewhat useful, but isn’t it amazing just how seriously people take shoes. How much we judge others based on their shoes. How much thought we put into selecting them, designing them, making them. All this time and energy spent on shoes when they’re just….SHOES!

So there I am at work, thinking about how we’re all taking shoes so seriously despite them being completely meaningless and I laugh. The person beside me asks “What’re you laughing at?” And it’s impossible to explain without looking stupid myself. The only thing more absurd than shoes is the idea that somebody, somewhere, is sitting pondering the absurity of said shoes. Which leads to even more amusement for me.

I’m not here to talk about shoes though, I’m here to talk about absurdity. The absurdity of everything. What’s lead me to this discussion (after months of blogging neglect) is London’s new cereal cafe.

Let me get you up to speed if you don’t know what I’m talking about. A new cafe has just opened in London which offers hundreds of different cereals (the breakfast food) which you can enjoy with a variety of flavoured milks. The cafe seems to have caused some minor controversy due to the fact it’s charging £3 ($5) for a bowl of cereal when it’s situated in an impoverished area of London.

Now I don’t care too much about the controversy. Or the fact that £3 is an obscene price for a bowl of cereal. I’m only a tiny bit bothered by the fact that the people running the cafe are a bunch of bearded hipsters.

No, the thing that itches at the back of my neck here is the absurdity of it all. It’s like the whole thing is a joke. I’m just waiting for somebody to pop up and scream “Hahaha! April Fools!” But the sad fact is that the world seems to become more ridiculous as time goes on and nobody seems to realise it.

Through the years I’ve started to wonder if lack something. Empathy? Sympathy? Some type of pathy. (Telepathy?) Because as hard as I try I just can’t understand people. What motivates a person to open a cereal cafe? What motivates a reporter to go to a cereal cafe and create a news story out of it? What motivates a person to buy cereal at such a cafe. But no these aren’t the questions.

The question is, what stops these people from killing themselves? Now that sounds like something a depressed person may say or even an emotionless psychopath. But I seriously can’t understand how a person can look in the mirror at night and think “Yeah, I sold some cereal today, my life is meaningful.” Or “I made a news report about a cereal cafe today, this is all worthwhile?” Or even “Hey, I’m so glad I spent all that time working so I could afford to buy this bowl of cereal.” Isn’t this all pathetic?

Now the problem with these thoughts is that they all lead back to the same place. Meaning. I’m of the opinion that life is meaningless – yes, I’m lots of fun at parties. But life is a little more bearable when you at least pretend your life has meaning.

Like “Ok, maybe there’s no God, maybe I’ll die and then I’ll be forgotten about because really I’m just a piece of dust in the wide scheme of the universe. But still…I’d better get up tomorrow and go to work as I’m a little cog in the big machine and if nobody turns up then nothing will get done!”

How on Earth does a person pretend their life has meaning when all they do is sell cereal to others. How do you tell yourself its all worthwhile when you’re only alive to do things like eat in cereal cafes?

The whole thing is so ridiculously utterly amazingly stupidly pointless that I should feel suicidal on their behalf. Instead I just feel suicidal on my own behalf because there are clearly people in the world that don’t think the whole thing is stupid – when they should!

I hope this cereal cafe is a turning point in history. That one day we’ll look back and think, “That was it, that was the peak of our indulgent society.”

Only then would this cereal cafe gain any significance. Maybe there is meaning in its uselessness. Just another straw to add to the camels back. Maybe one day we’ll do so much useless shit that we’ll finally be confronted with how stupid our lives are.

In that way the cereal cafe may be helping. Pushing us closer to rock bottom and the sudden realisation that many of us are simply alive to eat in cereal cafes and watch news stories about said cafes.

Maybe one day when I laugh at work about shoes, people will share my joke. “Hah, yeah, shoes are pretty weird aren’t they. Remember that horrible time 20 years ago when cereal cafes existed and people felt sad if they didn’t have the latest iPhone?” “Haha. Yeah! Classic man, classssic!”

Am I the only person in the world that perhaps hopes there’s more important things to do with our lives?

But then there isn’t anything more important. Everything is just as senseless as everything else. That’s what comes from a nihilistic attitude. Nothing has meaning. Which is the reason cereal cafes exist in the first place. To keep our mind off the fact that there is nothing else.

Now hurry up and give me some Honey Nut Cheerios before I kill myself.

8 thoughts on “The Meaninglessness of Cereal Cafes”

  1. I know what you mean. One of the most absurd things I laugh about is skiing. Imagine an alien seeing us in a system with ski lifts going down going up!? It seems meaningless but still a lot of people really enjoy skiing down the hill just to be pulled back up again. So whatever we find meaningful – is meaningful. Which is scary when it comes to the latest iphones and cereal cafes. What is missing? I don’t know. Connection with nature maybe.

    1. Yes. Skiing is ridiculous. Going down a hill at speed with pieces of wood attached to your feet. I wonder who even thought of it…at what point did somebody come up with that idea?!

  2. I have a friend who once proposed the idea of opening a cereal cafe to me. I’m glad someone also had that idea and ran with it. Our biggest hurdle was figuring out the pricing structure, as you say, $5/bowl seems a bit excessive. We figured if you charged by the volume of milk used instead (as milk would be the most expensive component in the US), you would end up with a more agreeable cost.

    I don’t know, cereals good. I can’t tell you how many I’ve been wondering what to make for dinner when I realize that I have some milk and granola sitting right in the fridge. Problem solved.

    1. I think it could be successful however i cant imagine people going there for lunch or dinner as they seem to be suggesting. There’s a cut off time for cereal consumption every day around noon for most people! I can’t imagine too many people will go out for food at 6 in the evening and decide to get a bowl of cereal…

      1. I think his idea was more centered on having this “restaurant” in college towns. Normal professional folk would never go for food this lazy (though Taco Bell does survive…), but college kids would gobble it up.

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