Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sometimes You're the Donut, Sometimes You're the Hole...

Approximately 30 feet away from my desk is a gigantic cardboard box full of deep fried dough, powdered sugar, icing & glaze in various shapes and configurations. I'm not sure how I offended my higher power today that made him toss this little test of will into my life but whatever it was I'M SORRY ALREADY, OK? Can't I just rattle off a couple of novenas or do three good deeds so we can call it even? Did you have to go all old testament on me and put some obstacle in my path that I've got to hurdle to prove that I'm steadfast in my quest? If so, then did it have to be donuts? I've got a perfectly good 14 year old boy at home that you could have asked me to take up to a mountain top and sacrifice as a test of my obedience, and I thought that the pimple on my left cheekbone might already qualify as a mild plague of boils, but NOOOooooOOOOooo--you had to pull out the big guns and send deep fried breakfast pastries my way. Thanks for that.

The irony here is that I don't really care too much about donuts. It's not one of those foods that I'd knock over a 4 year old to get to if we were both reaching for the last one (but if that kid was eyeing the last Wheatfield’s caramel pecan roll or Nathan's hot dog, then he'd better be wearing a cup and a helmet). Donuts don't generally tempt me to distraction, with three exceptions:

1. A cream-filled, chocolate iced donut from Krispy Kreme. And before you ask—no, bavarian cream won't do--just the fluffy stuff. I have standards.

2. A raised cherry blossom donut from Pettit's. So yummy, and I maintain that their pinkish tinge and hint of cherry flavoring allows me to count them as a fruit.

3. A chocolate iced "Old-Fashioned" from Winchell's. Sometimes I like to kick it old-school and have been known to purchase and eat two* of these in a sitting.

But despite my lack of (general) affinity for donuts, the box of them on the coffee bar is consuming my every thought. After actively avoiding them for the first half hour of their existence in my world, I finally strolled back just to take a look at them. And maybe have a little sniff. Or two. Or seven. I looked over the offerings and was pleased to see that there wasn't anything there that made me feel like I needed to drop my face directly into the box and go bobbin-for-pastries. There were a few melted-looking glazed donuts, a cinnamon twist or two, a couple of fruit filled rounds with white icing, some cake donuts with sprinkles (have I ever mentioned that I loathe sprinkles? I like the idea of them, and I love that you can match your dessert item to your decor with just a flick of the wrist, but chewing on those waxy little pellets is about as appealing to me as grating a votive candle over a stack of hot pancakes. Even the most perfect cookie ever made, the Eileen's Frosted Sugar Cookie, can be rendered inedible by the addition of a handful of sprinkles smashed into their heavenly, light-as-a-feather-creamy-as-a-dream almond flavored icing. So sad.) and one pathetic looking smashed cherry danish. I closed the box lid and walked back to my desk not feeling as though I was depriving myself of anything notable.

And yet, here I sit, writing about the donuts that I'm not eating. What's up with that?

I suppose that it's not so much that there are donuts back there that I'm not eating that's bothering me--it's that there's food of ANY kind in the room that I'm not eating that's got me all distracted and fidgety. I bet that if I was a recovering crack addict, I probably wouldn't be able to happily ignore a big pile of cocaine on the coffee table just because I'd rather smoke my rock than snort it. Sometimes I can't even handle the idea that there are kit-kat bars in a closed cabinet in the far corner of the room, or that there is ice cream in the freezer in the garage, or that there's a fiber one bar in my bottom desk drawer that I'm saving for later because if those things are where they are then they're not in my mouth which, as far as I'm concerned, is where anything edible should be.

This feeling will pass, and the truth is that just putting fingers to keyboard has helped to quell the rising panic that close proximity to uneaten food often causes me. There is also truth in the idea that not eating what I could eat if I wanted to can send my personal-power meter up a tick or two higher than my self-loathing meter thus tipping the scales toward the whole experience spurring me further on toward my goals. All those fringe religious groups who tout self-torture as a growth tool would nod along with me when I assert that sometimes victory is sweeter when you don't emerge from battle unscathed, and you get to point to your bloody lip and say "yeah, but you should see the OTHER guy!". I'm a little bruised but, for today anyway, I win.

Sara: 1 Donuts: 0

*read: four

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