I have learned to shower in my sleep, to drive a car while in a state of insensibility and to begin my work-day while simultaneously bordering on the edge of REM until I consume enough coffee to jolt me into consciousness.
I'm uncertain as to the age of the building in which I work but they have a very unusual distribution of equipment. There is a kitchen at the far end of the building which houses a large ice machine but their coffee maker spits out ice cold water on the grounds, making for a less than palatable cup of coffee. At the other end of the building is another kitchen, with a working coffee maker but the ice maker doesn't make ice. So I arrive at work a little before 6:00 am, abandon my belongings at my desk, forage around for the items I need to take with me-like my coffee cup, my insulated water glass, perishable lunch items and anything that may need to heated for breakfast, head for kitchen number one to start making the coffee. The recipe is one packet per pot but the coffee is pretty weak so I add another packet... I need a substantial pick me up that early. Once the coffee is started and my lunch items are deposited in the over full refrigerator, I head for kitchen number two to get ice in my water glass.
This morning, the scoop was buried under an avalanche of ice. Apparently the last person to use it failed to put it back in the holder. I wash my hands and begin digging through the craggy frozen nuggets of ice trying to grasp enough of the ice scoop to pull it free from its glacial tomb. The little lumps are adhering to each other and what is coming lose is sharp. I finally grab the handle and pull it free striking my arm against the door which gives way and slams down on my hand.
If you yell obscenities into an empty building and no one is around to hear, does it really make a sound?
There is usually me and one or two others, IT (internet technicians) guys in the entire building that early. I rarely make contact with them. I know they're there because when I arrive, there are almost always 2 other cars besides my own, one on the front parking lot and one in back where I park. But being there is one watering hole with a working coffee machine, from time to time our paths will cross.
This morning, after returning back to kitchen number one, as I'm pouring my first cup of the much needed molten stamina, one of the two IT guys, saunters past me to the vending machine and deposits his coins into the coin slot to obtain a soda. The soda clangs loudly as it crashes to the bottom. I hear the coins tinkling yet again, this time into the snack machine to obtain one of the packaged pastries for his nutritionally challenged breakfast. After a couple of garbled expletives, his fist makes an explosive contact with the vending machine, which, I imagine, gave back as good as it got. More expletives, and another blow. Having just become a victim in my own battle, man against machine, I turn to watch as he then lifts the machine off the ground and rocks it back and forth, crashing and banging until the machine agrees to yield him his pastry.
I sip my coffee and stare in wonderment. Finally he unhands the misappropriating mechanism, reaches down, retrieves his pastry and saunters over to the coffee pot. "Did you get it?" I say admiringly.
I laugh. "You know," I say still smiling, "there are statistics that somewhere in the neighborhood of a dozen people a year die from vending machines falling on people."
He holds up the cellophane wrapped danish menacingly and says flatly, "You see, I had to get my breakfast."
It's the hunt. Men no longer bring home the kill. They bring home a pay check. They drive to work, they passively sit at a desk, they quietly do their job... but all the while that cave man is in there, always there and at the most opportune rare moments, they get the opportunity to reach into the depths of their being and become the neanderthal that still lurks in the recesses of their brains.
Thirteen people a year die from taking on the vending machine and falling prey to it's retaliatory aggression. Although, in the end, just prior to them losing balance and being crushed under the weight of the pilfering monstrosity, there was that moment of refusing to stand down and accept defeat, and their proclamation was, "You see, I have to get my breakfast."
I gathered my mug of coffee and my water glass and grabbed a spoon for my yogurt and as I headed back to my desk, I glanced down at the roughed up skin on my arm and the bruise on my hand and thought, "I totally get that."