I'm not good at expressing affection; my nickname growing up was "Mommy's Little Locust." So this is my first love note, but after seven years, it's due.
I'm a sugar fiend, and every week I walk down to the Pike Place Market to buy a dozen fresh cinnamon doughnuts ($2.55) and a glass of milk from the Daily Dozen doughnut stand (93 Pike St). The doughnut batter is made fresh every morning and mechanically squeezed into a lazy river of hot oil, creating mini doughnuts that are fried assembly-style as you stand in line. The smell is intoxicating. They're still steaming when they're bagged and roughly shaken with a cinnamon-sugar mix. Each hot, fluffy bite makes my teeth ache. After a dozen or so, the sugar tears into my tongue like sandpaper. Bliss!
I go for the doughnuts, but I linger for the freak show. The Daily Dozen is situated on the southern leg of the market; just follow your nose and look for the longest line. While nearly every other shop in the market is courting tourists and kissing ass, the punks and queers at the Daily Dozen spurn social niceties such as flattery, or personal hygiene. They can afford to—doughnuts sell themselves. (On my most recent visit, a customer ahead of me inquired about hairnets. "Sorry little lady," the grizzled employee responded. "But unless you've got a hair net large enough to tame the forest on my back, it would be a hollow gesture indeed.")
The object of my affection, more so than the doughnuts, is a punk. Our courtship has been slow—seven sweet years—and subtle. He greets me with, "Hello, regular customer!" and a wink. His smile is sweet, his name unsavory: J-Sin. I enjoy my baker's dozen while watching tourists react to his unique brand of customer service. Like his comrades, J-Sin has fun with his job. He's crustily gallant. He arm-wrestles customers for free doughnuts and pops open doughnut bags with theatrical flair.
After roughly 364 bags of doughnuts (or 4,368 doughnuts, not counting freebees), I finally introduce myself. We have more in common than you'd think; he's got a unique personal style (punky with a dash of glitter) and DJs on the weekend under the name of DJ J, while I enjoy playing Name That Tune and ironing my socks. We bond over how shitty the sprinkle doughnuts are. "Here's a fucking tragedy," he says to me. "One night I was brushing my teeth and I noticed something in my eye. I lifted up the lid and out popped a red sprinkle. A red fucking sprinkle had been there the whole day, hanging out underneath my eyelid, hugging my fucking eyeball."
J-Sin doesn't eat doughnuts, but his plan is to leave Seattle this spring and start a doughnut shop of his own in Portland. His dream is to one day weld a doughnut machine onto the back of an old Studebaker truck, convert it to biodiesel, run it off of doughnut grease, and live the life of a doughnut-selling nomad. His family owns a Studebaker repair shop in Oregon, and the owner of the Daily Dozen is willing to donate an old doughnut machine to the cause. When spring hits Seattle, J-Sin will be one step closer to attaining his dream, and I'll be out of a seven-year crush. J-Sin and the Daily Dozen, I heart you.