Nothing like a plain old fashioned donut. I imagine that the first wheel invented by the first caveman or cavewoman was a replica of a plain old-fashioned donut. The plain old fashioned is hard, crispy yet sweet–but not overly so. Unlike a glazed donut, it is not plump with a sugary pomp and inflated doughy ego. There is an honesty about a plain old fashioned that I appreciate. It is straight forward–inornate–not pretty. But it is real, a donut whose face and crevices have seen hard times and has rolled over it like the ancient wheel, a grindstone that fills us and keeps us from being ground into dust. The best old fashioned donuts–donuts period–that I have had come out of Cambodian and Chinese owned donut shops; those shops with the coffee in the syrofoam cups, the lottery tickets and the fried chicken whose grease stains your fingers and mind. Only in California can I find this–not in my current home in North Carolina. With the old fashioned donut in my mind, it rolls 3000 miles and I follow counter clockwise and come to a Cambodian owned donut shop, the place with the best donuts. I buy 4 and the cashier puts it in a brown paper bag. She smiles and I tell her I can’t get donuts like this in North Carolina. She wishes me a good day. I leave and the oil from the old fashioned donuts seep into the paper bag leaving spots. A plain old fashioned donut. How can this mean so much? I start the car and turn on the radio to an AM station. The imperfect sound of the radio and the imperfect road beneath me becomes a bit more perfect with four old fashioned donuts to keep me going.
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