AndyO Blog

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Day 3 at Lake Chelan: The vending machine gods are angry

After 3:00 today, my reserves were gone. Drew woke up from his nap mad at the world. Cameron was testing boundaries and whining. It was over 100-degrees F. outside. So when Brenda got back from her meetings, I was spent. I immediately went out to get a pop from the vending machine.

I went to the vending machine on the first floor, just a few feet from my room. Since the bottles of Pepsi cost $1.25, I fed in a dollar bill. The machine made change, and four quarters fell into the change box. So I put the quarters back in. They dropped back into the change box. I fed the machine another dollar bill, and this time it spit out 10 dimes. I tried different combinations. No dice.

So, I remembered there was another vending machine on the second floor. I walked down the hall, up a flight of stairs, walked outside, and finally found the vending machine room. I dropped in some quarters, and I got more dimes back. I thought, "This is ridiculous!" But I couldn't give up. I walked around the hotel, searching for another vending machine. I found one on the second floor, by the lobby.

The second floor machine accepted my change. It even counted it for me, so I knew how much to put in. I pressed E 13 for a bottle of Squirt. The bottle popped out of its section and got stuck. I tried to get it out, but my hand was too big. By this point, I knew the Gods must really be angry at me or something.

I put in another quarter, and the machine flashed, "Remove bottle from machine." I stuck my hand into the door to grab the Squirt again, and I thought I was going to get it stuck. But I was finally able to push the plastic bottle so it fell down to door number 3.

My next purchase went much better. No stuck bottles. No problems with money. I was happy.


Later I went to the annual BBQ that Brenda's work hosts outside next to the lake. It was a little cooler than 100 degrees by 8:00 p.m., but because I got there late the ribs were cold. I didn't care. It tasted great.

Brenda handed off Drew to me after I was done eating, and I put him in his new "Jeep" stroller and let a 10-year-old girl, Catherine, push him around. He seemed happy. During the morning, I had talked with Catherine's father, Drew (yes, the same name), about all kinds of stuff. He told me about his career in the Navy as a nuclear reactor engineer on fast-attack subs. At one point I asked, "How deep were you running?" and he said, "I can't tell you." I thought he was kidding, but he wouldn't answer the question.

He also told me about saving the parent of one his daughter's friends in Hawaii. He said they were out in heavy surf snorkeling, and suddenly this guy says to him, "I need some help, Drew." So Drew pulls him in.

I realized that Drew is one of those guys who doesn't get rattled under pressure, who doesn't let the stress and anxiety get to him the way it does to most people. He told me that the Navy taught him this skill. When you're dealing with nuclear reactors at top-secret depths, I guess you learn how to stay calm.

I actually think a lot of this has to do someone's makeup. Some people are just better under pressure, whether by nature or nurture. Some people like to jump out of airplanes or swim with the sharks or go into battle. While some of us like to sit back and read about stuff like that.


posted by AndyO @ 11:07 PM   0 comments