With a tinny backing track of an indiscernible Ed Sheeran song, I pass red jars of sauce and paste, bags of pasta, tiny bottles of colorful spices, and sheaves of naan until I arrive at the sacred aisle of crumbly sweets. Bourbon Creams, Jaffa Cakes, Jammie Dodgers, and Wagon Wheels call out to me like sugar-buttered sirens performing their art of seduction in order to steal a priceless family heirloom from me.
But nothing ever catches my eye quite like a bright blue package of milk chocolate HobNobs.
I’m not quite sure I can describe it, but in layman’s terms: I’d date a HobNob, propose to it, get married to it with a sunny seaside view, buy a house with it, and go through a tawdry divorce with it that will latently affect our milk chocolate children.
What is it about an oat base with chocolate topping that gets to one so? While chocolate chip cookies and cupcakes with frosted flowers get all the press, oat-based confections usually get tossed to the side and labeled as a “health treat” or “the food form of your nan’s favorite autumnal blouse.” I can assure you, though––milk chocolate HobNobs are not a health treat, no matter how many times I tell myself that they are a relative of the Digestive family and therefore possess some sort of antacid property. I end up discreetly slipping a package into my cart as if someone will tell on me if they see this sinful act either way, even though nobody in London has a clue as to who I am and would really need to have a lot of time on their hands to want to call out a mousy-looking girl caught under the fluorescent lighting of a Tesco, vice in hand.
I sit on the bus with my shopping bags, listening to ABBA or another anthem wherein I imagine myself doing a spontaneous, choreographed dance on a city street in leather pants. I think about what I will make for dinner, but even more so about the oat-y, chocolate goodness that I will devour afterwards. I will put only a few on a plate and pair them with a cup of tea, priding myself on the moderation and elegance of it all. This dream comes to an end the moment I put the last one in my mouth, though, when I have the sudden realization that I must have just one more. And then another. And perhaps one more after that. And before I know it, all that remains are the battered and buttered crumbs, a mass carnage completed by a girl with a dream and a good belt.
When I arrived about a month and a half ago I expected I would try to go on a precious journey to “find myself,” preferably by a serene, foggy lake in the countryside or in a random pub where no one knows my name. However, it seems I’ve found myself the way the universe has always intended: clutching a half eating cylinder of HobNobs from Tesco, foaming at the mouth for more.