Sunday, February 23, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day or Breaking Up with Krispy Kreme

On Valentine's Day 2014, I was especially excited because Mr. Powers was going to take me to a restaurant that I loved and he was unfamiliar with.  Translation:  He had never been there and was not interested in going.  The day before Valentine's, he had made the mistake of asking one of his student assistants for advice on where to take his wife for a nice, non-extravagant dinner.  Woe unto Mr. Powers!  She'd suggested my favorite place.

The restaurant was crowded and noisy, but I was pleased to note that the food was so good that even my skeptical husband had to admit he liked it.  I took advantage of his full belly and need of a quiet venue, so I suggested going for coffee somewhere close by after the meal.  We could go to Starbuck's, which might be a little crowded, but it's never noisy, or we could go to Books-a-Million where the coffee is good, and there are other attractions for book-mongering nerds like me.  Mr. Powers could get a magazine or newspaper; I would be free to browse. . . and browse. . . . and . . . .

My husband had a better idea.  He jolted me from my dreams of new books and Sno-Joe with "Why don't we just go on down to Krispy Kreme?  We can get dessert too."

I know when I'm licked, because doughnuts are my mate's tacky pleasure.  He never met a doughnut he didn't like, be it oblong, cream-filled, lemon, chocolate with sprinkles, powdered sugar, or Classic Glazed.  I timidly offered the possibility that we could just hit the drive-through, but for Mr. Powers, that would have meant driving to Slapout from Montgomery with a dozen fresh KK's in the backseat.  He couldn't bear the wait.  We would have to go inside.

So to Krispy Kreme we went.  Don't get me wrong.  I love coffee, and KK makes a better-than-average cup.  I really didn't expect much of a crowd at 7:30 on a Friday night, so I figured that anything we would lose in ambience we would gain in java--and doughnuts, of course.  My regimen doesn't allow me doughnuts right now, but I could certainly sip my coffee in peace while Mr. Powers debated between the chocolate-covered long john and the cinnamon-dusted apple-filled.

The Montgomery Krispy Kreme is not new,  but like a good many coffee emporia, it is trying to keep up with the ubiquitous Starbuck's by offering specialty coffees for people who really don't like coffee all that much.  Therefore, there is a big coffee menu inside KK where there used to be only a list of doughnut prices.  I could choose from cappuccino, latte, iced, hot, with any number of gooey syrups drizzled on top in case my doughnuts weren't sugary enough.  I asked for the small version of their caramel latte, which would probably have packed the caloric wallop of a raspberry-filled glazed.  What I got was an apology.  The espresso machine was broken, so none of the specialty coffees were available.   Relieved, I ordered black coffee with a splash of vanilla flavor, and it wasn't bad at all. Mr. Powers, who was really only there for the doughnuts,  happily ordered black coffee.

We took our desserts and headed for a table.  KK used to be a shiny 60's coffee shop with lots of chrome, booths, and a formica counter with stools.  I think it would still like to be, but competition with you-know-who has led it to try to come up with a new atmosphere--some sort of environment that would encourage one to sit with his frothy, caramel-oozing dessert coffee and read the Montgomery Advertiser online.  KK has added small tables for two.  This night, they had tied balloons--pink and red, heart-shaped and metallic--to the backs of chairs, and in the center of each table was a romantic paper Krispy Kreme hat.  Mr. Powers and I were in agreement that the paper hat could be donned and worn by anyone who sat at the table, but when I said I wanted the balloons that were attached to my chair, he said NO.  He felt strongly that the balloons were only decorative and were NOT freebies.  All in all, it didn't seem like all that bad a place to relax over coffee before heading back to Elmore County.  HOWEVER--

There was one other group of doughnut fans in the place besides the two of us.  There were maybe  five adults in the party, and they had pulled two tables together.  On one chair was an infant carrier.  In that carrier was--you guessed it--an infant.  The baby was awake and peaceful, too young to eat a doughnut, but in no hurry.  Why, I wondered, was this group so noisy?  Then I saw what I had been hearing all along but not attended to, being so absorbed in the dilemma of what to order:  There were three preschoolers, all girls, under the tables.  Giggling.  Chattering.  Squealing.  Screaming.  One by one, out they came and proceeded to run around and around their parents' tables, laughing hysterically, batting pink balloons into the air.   One of them put her paper KK hat on the baby, who stirred a bit, until another little girl decided the hat was hers.  A dispute ensued over who had had the hat first. Balloons burst.  Baby cried.  The smallest preschooler jumped up and down.  Through it all, the adults conversed as if absolutely nothing were amiss.  Without saying a word to each other, Mr. Powers and I sped up the process, placing plastic lids on our half-full coffee cups, and leaving KK, paper hat, and balloons.

I raised boys.  They shouted, they hollered, and they got themselves taken out of many a restaurant, because their dad and I knew that if we were annoyed with them, others must be, too.  I never had little girls, and I surmise that with girls, the rules are different.  No one at Krispy Kreme that night seemed the least bit bothered by the antics of three doughnut-powered princesses.  Who were we to complain?  We didn't.  It was Valentine's Day.  Mr. Powers and I love each other, we love coffee, and we still love Krispy Kreme.  Only next time, we'll hit the drive-through.