Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Vending Machines

We have a vending machine at work.  It just serves a variety of bottled water – still, sparkling and various flavours of both.  Not that far from the vending machine is a water fountain with an ever-present puddle around its base.  Bring your own bottle and it costs you nothing.

Other things one can buy from a vending machine, like crisps and chocolate, were discussed but dismissed as not conducive to a healthy lifestyle.  So, it’s just water.

A newspaper article last week stirred my imagination.  I hadn’t really thought one could be so creative with vending machines.  A cupcake vending machine seems to be all the range.  Opening times at bakeries are no longer an issue with a machine servicing the sweet tooth at any hour of the day and night.

Apparently it doesn’t stop at cupcakes.  Mobile phones, gold, shoes and bikes are also “vendable”.  You can even get does of heroin substitutes in a prison if you have a pin number.  Amazing!

Yes, we want things quickly and we want things at any time.  We don’t appear to want to wait.

The last items on the vending machine list were crockery.  The journalist suggested that access to crockery might be useful in stressful situation – you know, those moments when you would like to break something and someone’s neck is not really an option.

I thought of the extra cleaning up that the janitors would have to deal with if we had one of those vending machines in our workplace. 

I have never thrown crockery before.  I have dropped it accidentally.  I used to have recurring nightmares set in a school canteen where I would have a tray of food and the tray would always slip from my hands and crash to the floor.  The scene would repeat itself over and over.  No matter how firmly I held on to the tray or how carefully I placed items on the tray for equal weight and balance, the tray would always fall. 

My only real foray into stress release strategies in my early teaching days was to wait until the end of the day, when the classroom was empty and in that space between pupils leaving the room and cleaners arriving, I would write swear words on the blackboard and then rub them off quickly!  What I couldn’t say to a person, I could at least write it, and even though no one else read it, it was as if it was spoken and acknowledged in some way.  It helped.

I don’t write swear words on boards anymore, and given the opportunity to smash crockery, I would probably decline.  It’s not that I don’t get angry or stressed – I just try to deal with it in a much more effective way.

God allows me to take it to him.  We sort through all the rubbish and see if there isn’t a lesson or two to learn or a strategy to employ that produces less anger and stress in the first place.

I’m still wondering though if there isn’t a case to be made to management for the cupcake vending machine!

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