I don't think I'm admitting any big secret when I say that I love donuts. My friends know this; my family knows this; you probably know this.
So it should surprise none of us that I nearly teared up with joy and pride when Mia suggested we go out for donuts last Saturday morning. Her voice was that of an angel proclaiming the meaning of life when she asked, and who says no to an angel? Not This Heavenly Mama, that's for sure.
It's fascinating to me that though I struggle to leave the house before 9AM on any given day -- we're rushed and disheveled and frantic in our chronic lateness -- we can successfully navigate all areas of morning preparations and joyfully be out the door by 8:23 on donut day. Donuts are a mighty incentive for quick-moving children. (And...ahem...mothers.) We piled into the car, a family of sugar-lovers (and the unreasonably strong-willed, sugar-denying father) bent on finding the perfect donut shop.
Just up the road from us, there are several to choose from. Supposedly, all donuts from these shops are within the same parameters of deliciousness, so we had to make our choice based on something different: ambiance.
Well, I needed ambiance. The rest of the inhabitants of the car were only interested in the color of their sprinkles, so it was left to me to demand the perfect atmosphere in which to consume fried dough.
We approached the first, closest shop and Justin slowed the car. "No!" I ordered, panicked. "I don't like this place. It seems so...sterile inside. All white and spare and...boring." Justin drove on peacefully. He must not have been in any sort of heckling mood (darn it...) so he ignored my 'sterile' comment. If he'd been in top form, he'd have pointed out that cleanliness, sterility, in restaurants is usually to be admired, not scorned. He also would've questioned my sanity in passing by a perfectly acceptable donut shop -- I've never turned down donuts before, and this seemed startlingly close to a refusal.
When we passed the second donut shop without comment, I think he started growing suspicious. "Uh, how far do you want to go for donuts, babe?" He wasn't worried -- after all, he wasn't interested in donuts and it was a nice, cool morning for a drive through town -- but he knows the patience of our two back-seat-whiners can be somewhat short. As I shrugged my shoulders (I was enjoying the drive, too -- not yet blinded by the need for donuts), he continued. "There's a new place over by the university that people say is pretty good. But it's all the way across town..."
University...young and hip?...new...stylish?...people say...reputation?...all the way...
I agreed. I'd never seen this donut shop, but it had to be better than the boring, old shops by our house. Justin knows me well enough that the fact I was searching for a pretty donut shop seemed perfectly commonplace. On we drove, through Saturday morning traffic, searching for the best donut venue in town.
And you guys, we found it. This place...this donut shop...was heavenly. Beautifully furnished with comfy couches and simple armchairs at the front, sturdy dining tables further back. Exposed beams lent it an air of careless comfort. Its walls were in rich taupe and mossy green, accentuated with black-framed art and accessories, deep brown ceramic tile. The place was gorgeous.
Oh, and the glass-domed counters full of donuts were bright and sparkling under the smiling faces of the employees. The donut shop of my dreams.
But get this: they also sold cupcakes. Sadly, I only ordered donuts (which were perfectly made -- crisp outer edges, sink-y bite, not too sweet, just right), but those cupcakes...oh. If it hadn't been 8:30 in the morning, I'd have had a cupcake. And okay. If I'd been alone (no matter the time), I'd have had two.
Would it surprise anyone to know that I decided to live there? Yes, I decided to never leave. Nothing could compel me to go.
My companions chose otherwise. Especially my male companion -- he of "I'll just have a cappuccino, please" willpower. I walked away under extreme duress, whispering to the building's brick facade, "I'll come back to you...I'll come back."
And next time, I'm bringing my toothbrush and some pajamas.