Friday, February 04, 2005

For the Love of a Chocolate Donut

Anyone who knows me knows that I start each workday with an extra large Dunkin Donuts coffee. I've tried Wawa's java, but it just doesn't have the same kick. To feed my habit, I have to stop and run into either a Dunkin Donuts on a major highway on the way to work, or, I have to stop at the DD located in the heart of Camden, the most dangerous city in Jersey.

Lately, I've been walking the block to the Camden DD, because the other DD just won't put enough sugar in my hazelnut coffee. I gave up trying to get them to put five sugars in my styrofoam cup of bitter ground DD beans.
So, pre 9am, I leave our office's parking garage, walk through the inner city bus station, through the little city park complete with benches of sleeping homeless people, and make it into the DD. The courthouse is nearby, the jail is two blocks away, as well as our office bldg. so, pre 9am, that DD counter is jammed six deep, and eight across. The morning crowd is mixed. Some of the addicted are the courthouse, jail, and other types of office workers. Most of the addicted are Camden residents. And every once in awhile, the Halfway Houses stop by. They 've been by a lot these past weeks. I think there must be a new van driver or activity aide, and they can't think of anything better as an activity for the House residents, than a trip to DD.

Since a trip to DD is first on my list too, I can't really give the van driver or aide a hard time about using DD as a daily outing for people who have precious few opportunities to mingle with the outside world.
Yesterday, after I made it to the counter, I noticed a chubby woman with intensely wrinkled hands was across from me. I noticed the deep creases on her hands, because they were slowly and orgiastically feeding a fresh from the oven, dark chocolate glazed cream in the middle donut, into her red lipstick swiped mouth. At the counter. Slowly. She was not moving her butt out of anyone's way. She was having a donut orgasm, on her time, at her pace.

Now, in that particular DD, you don't hold anyone else in line, up. You don't have public eating orgasms. Cause that DD is also filled with folks who get their orgasmic highs from all types of street drugs. And pre 9am, there a lots of people with eyes bulging out of their heads, wired and pretty much toothless, whose high has taken them through the nite, into the pre dawn hours, and they are now winding down, and looking for some DD juice.
But she stood there, even as I left, oblivious to all, tonguing bits of yellow cream off the chocolate glaze.
The odd thing was, people let her do it. They just glanced at her with sympathy, and then pushed their way to the other side of her, at the counter. The Half way House groups, too, just mingled around her, graciously seeding her her spot at the front of the counter.
The DD Goddess was obviously with one of the Mental Health Halfway House groups. And anyone who has been on either side of that fence, knows, that if you live in one of those programs, you are confined. You are subject to violence from other residents, to having your few belongings ripped off, and your daily life is orchestrated per both the regulations and the whims of the House Leader. You just have to hope you get a good one to run your program
Yesterday, the Donut Goddess must have lucked out. It was the whim of her House Leader to have allowed yet another trip to the inner city heaven, DD. The Donut Goddess must have earned enough house points for good behavior, to be allowed to go.

And, in the midst of her restricted, scheduled, violence prone life, she found a taste of something she had sorely craved, something wonderful, all thanks to the House Leader arranged trip.

When she goes back to the Halfway House, she can tell the ones who were not allowed to go, about the donut she ate. And about the people who ahhed, and said oh, let her enjoy her bit of fun, she must never get out, this may be the only pleasure she has for awhile. Those people will feel better knowing that they saw a bombarded soul be happy, even if only for a moment, before the activity outing ended, and the van drove back to the program. To the reality of her life.

While reading the news last night, I saw article after article, and post after post, talking about the Happy Iraqi's voting, and of how good that made those folks feel about the whole mess. "Oh, but they stood in line for hours, and they looked so happy." It was almost like they were discussing kittens. Happy happy Iraqis, happy happy little kittens. There was such a denial of all of the facts surrounding that election. Of the reasons why we invaded and bombed that country, initially. Not one of those souls looked deeper than a few pics and articles taken by American media.

As I read what these blinded folks wrote, the Donut Goddess kept coming to mind. The people who smiled indulgently at her as she ate her sole happiness in front of them, those people came to mind.
Let's ignore the issue of homelessness, mental illness, racism, poverty, violence. Let's ignore the fact of life for a person whose sole pleasure is located in the scant chance that she may earn enough good behavior points from the House Leader to go on an activity, and that that activity may be a trip to the inner city DD. She stood in line, too, for a chance at a Leader allowed happiness.
And people clucked, and made themselves feel better, while the real issues were ignored. Those issues are too messy. Just let her eat the donut, no matter how messy she is while eating it, and then take her back to the Halfway House, please.

She may later get caught in the fighting between other residents; her health may decline, and the staff will not be able to find a doctor who will take Medicaid, so she will suffer more. She may slip farther into her own stricken mind, and not earn enough points for another outing. The funding for her program may be cut, further eroding the quality of her life. But she had the chance to eat a donut, and that was enough.

Uranium may have sunk so far into Iraq's soil that generations to come will be poisoned. 28 people were killed yesterday. A law is being passed that will allow foreign corporations to control Iraq's oil. There is no free press in Iraq. People carry their wounded, bloodied, children to hospitals and lay them on metal beds without bedding. The vote may have encouraged a civil war to ensue. The list goes on.
But the Iraqi's had a chance, given by their House Leader, to vote, and that was enough. Happy, happy, pretty kittens. That's what America likes to see.


Blogger PaxRomano said...

America is a land of donut queens and happy kittens that enjoy nothing more than seeing other donut queens and happy kittens; "see everything is fine". We are a country of anesthetized bozos, lead by an autocratic regime that tells us what we want to hear, but feeds itself by killing us little by little... this cold is making me bitter!

8:36 PM  
Blogger Medbh said...

nah, Pax, your'e not bitter, just very accurate in your assessment of the apathy that seems overwhelming. And that machine is feeding off of us. We need to find a way to pull it's plug! hope you feel better! ps- I love my picture!

11:35 PM  

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