Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Glory hole

I have a weakness for Krispy Kreme doughnuts that borders on pathological. When I was a kid, for evening entertainment my parents would load us in the station wagon and take us to Krispy Kreme. We’d watch as the raw doughnut dough circles came down the conveyor belt and slid into the deep fat frier. Then, like magic, that rotating arm would flip the doughnuts and fry the other side, leaving that thin white band of unfried dough around the edge of the confection.

Glory of glories, the fried dough made its way to the shower of icing. A curtain of pure liquid sugar joy glided dreamily over each doughnut. And the icing, that transcendental wonder of the icing, some of the curtain of sugar glaze never made it onto the doughnut and fell back into a recovery vat. Oh, heaven above, if I could just stick my face in that sugar rain and catch the extra in my mouth.

“Now frying,” the sign blinked, my favorite sign ever. “Now frying,” the still warm doughnuts were delicately pricked directly off the line with what looked like a bamboo chopstick and placed in perfectly gridded order in a dozen-sized box. Dad ordered one box plain glazed, one box chocolate glazed. We all ate one of each, sitting in front of the magic doughnut conveyor belt, watching with rapt childhood attention, high on sugared sweets.

Twenty-five years later, and I have become allergic to wheat. I discovered it one day after eating a waffle. I felt horrible afterward. The next day, I did not eat a waffle, and I was fine. Just in case, just to prove the scientificity of my experiment, I ate a waffle again. I was sick. Like anaphylactic sick. So, poof, the world of wheat disappeared. I’ve been off wheat for a while now, and although I miss it like I’d miss chocolate (mac n’ cheese! Where are you?), I’m safely healthier.

Today, however, someone brought my supreme weakness to work—Krispy Kreme. My co-workers can never remember that I’m allergic to wheat (not that it’s their job to remember), and more than one person said, “There’s Krispy Kreme in the breakroom.” Evil. Pure evil. I ignored the Krispy Kreme, I reminded myself it was poison, I fought my burning sweet tooth, but I succumbed.

I was sitting alone in the breakroom eating a snack of string cheese. Two open boxes of Krispy Kreme stared at me. “They’re not there,” I said. “You’ll die,” I said. But then the much, much louder voice said, “DIE IN A GLORY OF CONFECTIONER’S GLAZE!”

I picked up one doughnut, gently, not breaking the integrity of the glazing shell. “I’ll just take a bite and see what happens.” I chewed slowly, afraid and exhilarated. Swallowed first bite. “I’m OK.” Next bite, chewed deliberately and carefully. “I’ll finish this doughnut, and that will be all.” I felt fine. My throat didn’t squeeze, my nose didn’t run, I didn’t sneeze—I was fine. “OK, another doughnut.” Thoughtful bite, careful chew, swallow. Second doughnut, gone and no reaction. Then the glutton in me took over, my doughnut demon started screaming, “Third doughnut! Third doughnut!”

You know I listened to the doughnut demon.

I knew I was really pushing my limits with the third doughnut, but I told myself, “There’s always the emergency room.” Yes, that is actually how I justified the third doughnut, a trip to the emergency room for eating a third doughnut.

Bite, careful, slow, bite. I knew this was my last Krispy Kreme ever, and I knew it had to be perfect. Alone, in the breakroom, with two boxes of Krispy Kremes as my friends, I started doughnut three. I chewed deliberately. I chewed carefully. I chewed mindfully that this, this glorious confection was my last. I savored like I had never savored before.

I finished, still terrified I’d be in the emergency room in minutes, but reveling in the magnitude of my doughnut accomplishment. And then my throat got tight. Assessment: throat not emergency room tight, throat allergy medicine tight.

I rushed to my office and tore apart my purse looking for that lone Sudafed I knew I had floating around in the bottom. “Sudafed, Sudafed, must not die,” I chanted to myself. Finally, Sudafed, lots and lots of water.

My nose ran for a while and my throat burns, but I did it all for Krispy Kreme. It was stupid. Terribly, wretchedly stupid, but for Krispy Kreme I took the chance. Three doughnuts. My last three doughnuts, and god they were worth all the agony for the joy of those precious minutes of bliss. I don’t need meditation, my transcension is fried.

1 comment:

eeny meany said...

Well written, girlie! Loved "DIE IN A GLORY OF CONFECTIONER’S GLAZE!"

As someone with off-and-on hypoglycemia and diabetes in my family, I've totally been there.