One of the things I like about Southern California is how the stores in strip malls are named. While driving from my parents' house to one of my sibling's houses, we see stores called "Liquor," "Pretzels," "Taxes," "Pets," and "Nails." Every now and then, someone like a dentist decides to get creative and call his store "Implants," but under the bright California sun, I can forgive that.*
* Note that I wrote "his" instead of "her" when referring to the dentist. I did that because in this example, the dentist is a Jewish male. Or maybe he's an elective surgeon. I don't actually live in California, so how would I know?
When we visited Portland later in the summer to visit Stan and Grey, I proclaimed to Wendy that Portland is a great city for two things: beer and donuts. (No, not the highly overrated Voodoo Donuts, which is nearly as mediocre as Top Pot donuts in Seattle.) Just as I made that proclamation during a rush of confidence, we both saw the same store:
I half-skidded into the parking lot and expected everyone to pile out of the car in a frenzy. The boys were busy with iPads and Wendy has issues with gluten and the like, so I walked into the store alone.
What happened next could only be described as panic.
With all the trays of delicious donuts to my left and center, my heart pounded. I had to blink a few times to clear my head. No good. My brain had stopped processing information in language and flashed thoughts in kaleidoscopic color. I saw a glazed raspberry donut that I used to like when I was in college, but I knew for a fact on some level that a glazed raspberry donut—even though you can see the enticing little red opening—is too sweet and seedy. In that donut store, the thought flitted into my head and left in a whirl. When asked what could be gotten for me, I replied:
"Raspberry donut, please."
In a moment of crisis, I choked. I suppose that I can take comfort in the number of times that I have ordered successfully in a similar situation, like that time I ordered Beef Wellington at Fresh Bistro. Or I can tell myself that I'm gainfully employed with a job I like and a family I love, and that I'm an above average wiffleball player, but that's all cold comfort in a time like that. I know what happened.