February 8, 2008
By Kristin Miller, Glyndon, MN

Me versus the vending machine, round one. Ding ding. I strode up to the shining beacon of corporate goodness, filled with the sugary sweet, caffeine filled, nectar of the gods we know simply as Pepsi. I needed it, that jolt of energy to get me through the day, so I reached into my pocket to find the dollar I needed to procure my pop. Suddenly, disaster, as I drew the bill out I found a crinkled, just-been-washed, sorry excuse for a dollar. Despair welled up within me, and I made a pitiful attempt to smooth it out. I thought I had done a fairly decent job, but now was the moment of truth. My hand trembled slightly, possibly from the caffeine withdrawal, as I raised my money to inject it into the machine. I pushed it in, nothing, yet undaunted I tried again, this time with the other end, still nothing. I repeated the process at least three times, desperately searching my pockets for change, trying to salvage some hope that I would get my soda. Finally, accepting defeat, I let out a sigh of disappointment and retreated to first hour, but this was not over, tomorrow I would come back with change.

Me versus the vending machine, round two. Ding ding. This time I was ready, three quarters jingled in my pocket, more than enough to cove the sixty cent fee for my can of cola. I felt like I had finally won as I traipsed down the hall, ready for another encounter with me electrical adversary. I was sure that I had out smarted it this time, so, filled with confidence, I got ready to deposit my three quarters. Suddenly, something caught my eye, my gaze was drawn to the small screen where the machine informed me of the price, and one other bit of information that had been recently added, it read: $.60 exact change only. My heart dropped into my gut, this couldn’t be! How had this happened? It was outrageous, who on earth carries exact change? In one last ditch effort, I knelt down and searched the pockets of my backpack, holding on to some hope that the dime I needed might reside there, no luck though, I came up empty. Once again overcome, and with all my previous gusto gone, I slumped back down the hall, toward my classroom. Once again, this is not over, I will return, with exact change.

Me versus the vending machine, round three. Ding ding. I had no confidence this morning, merely determination. I would not be humiliated once more. My exact change, two quarters and a dime, were clutched tightly in my fist. I made my way down the hall, stopping to talk to no one. I was a woman on a mission, nothing and no person would get in my way. Just adding to my desperate desire, I had only gotten four hours of sleep the night before, so I needed the caffeine boost now more than ever. As I got within viewing distance of my foe, I noticed a piece of paper taped onto it. I hurried my steps and as I soon as I got close enough I read words that made my blood run cold: out of order. the sense of disappointment i felt cannot be described in words. This was the last straw, I could not stand anymore of the heart ache, the emotional roller coaster ride that came with this Pepsi machine. I felt the sting of tears behind my eyes, but not a single tear escaped. With one final parting glance I looked at my old frenemy, remembering all the good times, then, with a small smile, I walked away.

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