April 27, 2001

I can’t get vending machines off my mind. Ever since my friend Susan thought they could be the best money-making scheme since,I don’t know, sliced bread, I’ve had ridiculous visions of coin operated gadgetry dancing in my head. Then I found Raphael Carter’s web site. Like they say, its ALL been done before.

I guess they remind me of what I was really dreaming to find when I moved to NYC. A serviceable Automat. This notion occurred to me from reading the E.L. Konigsburg book From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (a story of two siblings who try to teach their parents a lesson by escaping to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art) too many times as a kid (albeit naive and unknowing of the East coast). They were always eating in Automats. It seemed so exotic. Now so extinct.


“They went to the Automat and used up a dollar’s worth of Bruce’s nickels. Jamie allotted ten nickels to Claudia and kept ten for himself. Jamie bought a cheese sandwich and coffee. After eating these he still felt hungry and told Claudia she could have twenty-five cents more for pie if she wished. Claudia, who had eaten cereal and drunk pineapple juice, scolded him about the need to eat properly. Breakfast food for breakfast, and lunch food for lunch. Jamie countered with complaints about Claudia’s narrow-mindedness.”

“Claudia read the paper while they ate breakfast at Horn and Hardart’s. That morning she didn’t eat breakfast food for breakfast. Crackers and roasted chestnuts in bed at night satisfied only a small corner of her hunger. Being hungry was the most inconvenient part of running away. She meant to eat heartily for every cent Jamie gave her. She bought macaroni and cheese casserole, baked beans, and coffee that morning. Jamie got the same.”

Happy eating.