Everybody knows “That Guy”. That Guy is the one who does some of the most irritating things. Like The one who sprints into his left turn through your right of way as soon as the traffic light turns green. Or the one who doesn’t believe that the no talking and texting rule in the movie theater applies to him. Well last weekend I became That Guy.
My Mrs. and I went to church on Saturday evening. We Catholics differ from our Protestant brothers and sisters by being actually required to go to church each Sunday. Not “it’s a really good idea and you really ought to go” required but “there are four masses at this parish this weekend and others nearby so if you don’t get your butt into a pew at some point this weekend, well you know where the confessionals are” kind of required.
Anyhow Saturday evening is a great way to accommodate the twin desires of 1) get to church the way we are supposed to and 2) sleep late on Sunday morning. Who says there’s not a crazy genius to Catholicism?
The weather was decent for the first time in weeks so we decided to go out to eat after church. As we got to the car after dinner, the word “donuts” was used. I do not feel the need to go into detail about which of us was actually first to use the D Word. Let’s just acknowledge that the D Word was used and move on.
“Let’s go to Long’s for some donuts” was the actual phrase. This was a highly loaded and tightly packed suggestion. First, there is a dwindling number of days before the start of Lent (during which it is a common thing to give up certain pleasures like sweets.) Second, it was a suggestion to drive to the other side of town to a little old bakery in a declining neighborhood for some of their delicious wares.
“I’m in” was the reply of the second of us, which came within nanoseconds of the suggestion by the first. It was a pleasant drive along Pothole Avenue, until we took a right on Crater Boulevard. We dodged most of the bigger pocks in the pavement caused by the recent subzero weather and finally approached the bakery.
I knew this place well, having lived nearby during my law school days. It was probably a pretty normal place for a bakery in the mid 1950s when it opened. The neighborhood was a little down at the heels by the early 1980s and has progressed to a little scary now. But their delectable glazed donuts are not run-of-the-mill fare and were deeply embedded in the “I want” lobes of our brains. Besides, everyone needs to live a little dangerously every now and then. It was nice to see the police car parked right out front (insert cops and donuts joke here) so we felt a little better. Not a bad thing, especially for a shop that is still “cash only.”
Trouble came as soon as we walked in. “This is all we have left” said the clerk as she gestured to two partial trays of donuts in the case. We got lucky when the couple ahead of us satisfied themselves with a couple of the few brownies that were also there.
The selection was not what we really came for but when the only choices are chocolate-iced bavarian creams and cream filled carmel-iced long johns, well that’s what you get. “I guess we will do six of each” was our order. After all, we had the rest of the weekend ahead of us and a weekend with donuts is always better than a weekend without, especially when there is a lazy Sunday morning ahead of us. I am pretty sure this is not the kind of “planning ahead” that my mother used to lecture me about, but . . . yeah.
Moments later the next people walked in and the clerk gave the same warning that “this is all we have left.” It was then that I realized that I was “That Guy”. I did not take the last of the donuts, but I was getting the last dozen of anything that anybody was going to take out of there for the rest of the night.
I forked over my cash under the watchful eye of the off-duty policeman sitting quietly behind the counter, who was doubtless looking forward to an early donut sellout so that he could go home. The lady behind the counter handed me our (yes, our) dozen donuts in return.
Suddenly I felt as though I was carrying a big black bag marked “$1 million, cash” as we walked out of the front door (with its bulletproof glass) and made the fifteen yard dash for the car. Did those two or three sets of people walking towards the entrance have any idea that their only chance at donuts was about to make a dash for the suburbs? Clearly not because they continued walking into the store, surely not ready for the disappointing news they were about to receive.
Perhaps I did not become That Guy completely. I suppose that someone used to being That Guy would have yelled something like “We got the last dozen, sucks to be you!” as we strode out the door. But becoming That Guy and Crime Statistic in the same trip would have been too much. A Sunday headline of “West Side Stabbing Over Donuts” was not something that we were interested in exploring further.
Could we have gotten by on a half dozen instead of a dozen? Perhaps, but not as luxuriously. I got to be That Guy and lived to tell the tale. Did our donuts taste better than we expected they would? Oh yeah.