Life is strange. Sometimes you find yourself stranded on a beach on the Thai island Koh Pha-ngan with no one but a plastic doughnut you kidnapped from your tour guide for company. I believe that we were, specifically, recovering from the Full Moon party – hence the flower-crown, hippie-sunglasses, and need to walk into a cleansing substance (both physically: neon body paint, anyone? and morally).
We had been kicked off of some sunbeds we’d feigned obliviousness to not being free and had no choice but to doze with this inflatable confectionery for sore-head-support. I was reading ‘The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck’ which I did not find very life-changing, but which did have a useful chapter on ‘How to not give a f*ck without being a total d*ck’, which I thought could be helpful to photocopy and send to quite a few people back home.
It would also happen that the sea here is not very cleansing! Do you see all this strange black seaweedy stuff? Yes, this was everywhere and made the water strangely shallow and very, very bristly. Good thing I had a doughnut to keep me afloat!
Amidst our dozing, we were also lucky enough to find a beautiful golden doggo, whose ownership remains unknown.
Although doughnuts are the root of multiple controversies (They are not vegan . . . AND how do we navigate their spelling? I prefer them without their ‘gh’ but this sparks debates over Americanisation, whether doughnuts were American to begin with, whether they are, in fact, a ‘nut’ made from dough, and so on), they have a special place in my heart.
My uni halls of residence were catered for my first two years, and something like 3 lunchtimes a week we’d be treated to dessert. The need for said dessert was always quite loud, but reached heights of mania during exam-and-deadline-seasons. It was particularly crushing when the ‘dessert’ revealed itself to be ‘fruit salad’, and worse when not-even-vegetarian marshmallow-plagued ‘rocky road’ (so close and yet so far). Doughnut day, however, was the sweetest oasis of all.
I don’t remember liking, or even eating, doughnuts, as a child, but it was widely known that doughnut day would see an inspirited lift in my mood. We never knew when it was coming, but when they announced their presence it would be passed along the line to alert me, so that I could shake those around me by the shoulders and prepare everyone for hysteric joy.
They always had a way of appearing at times of great need (Basically, like the sword of Gryffindor). For the first Art History module I ever took, two girls and I formed a friendship centring panic-based camaraderie. We had our first test of 120 paintings to memorise, overnight, and frantically made a timeline of the equivalent number of flashcards, together, in our hall common room. We’d stared blankly and simultaneously agreed: ‘yeah, we have no idea what any of these are’, before staying up all night desperately trying to memorise their dates, artists, titles, and dimensions. ALAS: when we returned in the morning, the flashcards had been STOLEN by an anonymous fellow Art Historian in our halls! Though we had our suspicions, our Facebook post (#bringbackourflashcards) and wardennial contacts returned no answers. An hour before the test, two of us were trying to scramble together some digital equivalent, when our third comrade, Maria, burst through the door with a plate from the dining hall: DOUGHNUTS. This story could equally be one of the loveliness of altruistic Maria, but it is also one of the symbolic glory of doughnuts. (We all passed.)
When I was 16, I worked at Boost-Juice-Smoothie-Bar in the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, East London. Though this largely just involved wearing a humiliating hat and writing sarcastic names that young men innovated such as ‘Big D’ on cups I’d then have to call out, it also so happened that our stock-room was right next to Krispy Kreme’s, and boy did they smell good. Every time I was sent to the stock-room to collect more boxes of bananas, racks upon racks of freshly baked Krispy Kremes would sit just outside, screaming ‘TEMPTATION’. My fave co-worker, there, had a boyfriend who used to work for that Krispy Kreme, and sneak her and the Boost team spare doughnuts. Alas, this was in the era before my hiring, which, unluckily, co-incided with CCTV. So, I just had to stare at them longingly.
I am quite surprised by how many doughnut-related stories I have, but on a final note, I have ONE which is surprisingly tragic. I was on the charities committee at my weird, posh sixth form (I know, a ‘state’ school with a charities committee, I didn’t get it either), and we apparently did these annual Krispy Kreme sales during ‘Charities Week’ – Krispy Kreme happily give hundreds of unsold doughnuts to people doing charity sales, btw. As a member of said committee, I took the train to Stratford and was given my share of the load: 400 Krispy Kremes, to bring into school the next day. The next day turned out to be the first time I accidentally got on the wrong train, asked ‘does this go to Chelmsford?’, was mistakenly (and very over-confidently) told: ‘YES!’, and ended up in Colchester with 400 Krispy Kremes, having missed the bake-sale. Good times.
Anyway! Isn’t Koh Pha-ngan stunning! It’s the most serene playground I’ve ever been in.