Friday, March 7, 2014

The curious incident at lunchtime.

"I've never used a vending machine before," I said with at least slight nervousness. It was 12:37pm and I could have easily excused myself from the staff lounge with the aid of a number of truthful statements.

I have to rush back before my kids get back to the classroom.
I just heard the microwave ding downstairs - better get going or my food will get cold!
What's that? Yes, Patti, I'll be right there.
It was great talking to you guys, now I'd better be off to whatever it is I must do next.
The earth just rotated a bit and urged me to move to my next stop - classroom.


But through the haze of my annoyance of how words seem to slip out of me before I can grant them permission to, I heard my colleague respond to me, "Oh, really? It's pretty cool how they work. You put in the..." I was impressed to say the least. I have seen vending machines yes, but something in my prehistoric mind never fails to stop me from standing before this tall metal box, give it my hard-earned 60 cents, push a glimmering button, not be frightened by the shudders and creaks the machine makes, and enjoy the refreshing coolness of the drink that emerges from the innards of this tall metal box.

I appreciated the teacher in my colleague as he told me all about these thing-producing-money-swallowing-metal-boxes. The first ones. What they look like from inside. A museum of them. Contemporary ones that give you more than soda cans and headphones in exchange for a few presses of a button and a few swallows of your money.

My Machine Muse 
I gawked at the teacher in me that began to think about the meaning of this all. Vending. Vend (v)\'vend\ To sell as in a hawker or peddler. An enthralling discussion about vending machines ensued in our staff lounge, as I wondered about more trivial matters - why isn't called a hawker machine? Or better yet - a peddler machine! I cautioned my brain from not running too far with my ideas to rename this machine, that by now, 12:41pm, I was absolutely ready to get inside of. I was intrigued to a frightful degree. I wondered about how many nuts and bolts it had inside; how often "they" (the secret keepers of the key to this tall metal thing-producing money-swallowing box) come by while we all are busy doing things like teaching to open the gates to this amazing invention; could I sneak into the box unseen and request one of my inventive colleagues to purchase an item from it and watch the inner movements of those simple machines from within; how many types of vending machines are there; what happens if - 

"Do you want to try some Dr. Pepper?" He asked unknowing of my inner tumult. 

"I've never had Dr. Pepper before," I said with curious nervousness.

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