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04 August 2013

We Are the Doughnuts that We Eat

“Berliner (pastry)” by Rainer Zenz. 
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To boost the morale of West Berliners under threat of invasion from the Soviet-supported city of East Berlin, President John F. Kennedy declared in 1966, "Ich bin ein Berliner!” meaning “I am a Berliner.”  However, some claim that his statement could also mean, “I am a jelly doughnut" because “berliner” means doughnut in some parts of Germany.

Either way, his statement is useful in whatever situation you may use it. Most importantly, Jackie Kennedy Onassis was once married to a doughnut. Now that is bringing class to bread famous for having a hole.

I have to admit that a certain doughnut store in Trinoma makes one of the best doughnuts in town although I prefer another brand.  A big part of the fun of gorging on these doughnuts of this specific store (mouthful!) is that you have to fall in line to get some.  I mean the line can get really loooooong.  Isn’t that true in most things in life? If you want get your hands around sweet bread with a hole, you have to do the “hard” work (pun definitely intended). If you can easily get something, where is the thrill? We can always get it later.  Sometimes, if the line is too short and you finally get through the door, the security guard will tell you that they have run out of doughnuts, and politely apologize. What? That is enough to bring out the Kris Aquino in all of us.

“What do you mean you ran out of doughnuts? That’s unthinkable in this country! Do you know who I am?”

Buying donuts used to be a simple and humble task. 

(On the telephone)
  • “Baby, ma-le-late si mommy nang konti, may over time.”
  • “Nay, pasalubong po ng donut pag-uwi.”
  • “O sige anak, natapos mo na ba homework mo?”
  • “Opo nay.”
  • “Ano gusto mong flavor?”
  • “Yung double chocolate po at strawberry filled…”
  • “Okay, love you.”
However, buying doughnuts may now be a status symbol. While some are more comfortable buying doughnuts in a stall under the MRT Cubao station before waiting (or praying) for a bus to get home, others prefer to sit comfortably in a doughnut restaurant armed with a laptop next to a freshly brewed coffee.  Others prefer a more public display of their choice.

Perhaps as the Philippines slowly become an economic marvel, you cannot just buy any doughnuts these days; you have to be seen buying the right ones.

One time, as my friend and I fell in line and endured our salivating tongues, I saw more iPhones, Blackberries, great-looking expensive bags, “yayas” in uniforms talking to their cute “alagas,” young people talking in almost perfect American English, and expensive cars picking the lucky early birds who got their doughnuts.  At one point, I almost felt embarrassed taking out my old Samsung e1130.  Suddenly, something occurred to me. The doughnuts do not necessarily have to be my end goal. It is the waiting. I have to be seen. This is premiere night with bread.  That is the key.

Considering that my friends and I are students of improvisations, if we are brave enough, we could just fall in line and create characters. Put on a show that we can call a “Deconstruction of the Doughnut Phenomena in a Third World Country,” and once we are near the door, we can just say:
  • “Oh sorry manong guard, pauunahin na muna namin iyong nasa likod namin, y’know, na-traffic pa kasi si Grutha and her French-Filipino fiancé along Annapolis kaya, matatagalan pa. Balik na lang kami sa end of the line.”
  • “Si yaya rin, hindi pa makalabas ng Ayala Heights, wala pa daw gas ang car namin.”
  • “Anyway, let’s Instagram this moment.”
 In reality, we do not intend to buy doughnuts.   

To cut the story short, that night, we ended up eating banana-que and kwek-kwek sa ilalim ng MRT Trinoma station, tapos uminom ng malamig na melon juice. I had only one thing on my mind, “magic sugar kaya ang ginamit ni Manong,”

Biglang sagot ni Manong, “hindi ah, totoong sugar iyan!”

I guess that is the sum of it all, di ba? It is just “asukal.” Pero sabi nang kaibigan ko, nagmamaasim lang ako kasi naubusan ng doughnut.  Ngek! Baka passé na ang expression na “napag-iwanan.”  Ang bago ngayon ay “naubusan ng doughnut.” 

"Huwag ka nang mapili, baka maubusan ka ng doughnut!" It sounds sexist though. Watya tink?

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