Thursday, 5 August 2010
This afternoon, I decided to have a bar of chocolate from a vending machine in the parliament. The place is pretty empty right now, so as I approached along the shopping mall like ground floor, with its banks, hardresser, dry cleaner, newsagent and permanently closed post office, there was just me and a Belgian. I knew he was Belgian, because of the funny tuft of hair growing from just under his lower lip. Its very popular over here. The 3-piece cordrouy suit was also a bit of a giveaway. I sensed that he would walk behind me, and then want to use the same vending machine as me, at the same time. I was right!
I stood back to let him go first. Instantly, 2 more appeared, like characters from Shaun of the Dead, and a pantomime began. Together, they all tried to work out how to use the machine. I sat down to watch, sensing that this might be entertaining. How many different ways, I wondered, can they fail to put 60 cents into a slot to by a mars bar?
After 5 minutes, and much jangling of coins and banging on the glass, they all left, shrugging at each other. I decided to try my luck. The vending machine that worked perfectly well yesterday is now well and truly bolloxed.