I’m back in Rhode Island. Will took me to the Austin airport at 3:30 AM last Wednesday. My suitcase was much lighter (baby quilt finished and gifted, jam, summer clothes and sandals left behind) and my heavy electronics were stuffed inside my rolling bag, the one that weighs 200 pounds and fits under the seat of the plane.
It has always been a challenge–okay, impossible– to find a cup of coffee in the Austin airport at 4 AM, even though recent remodeling has brought a lot more stores and places to eat. But–good news!!!–I saw people carrying coffee cups so I kept walking, past my gate, in search of the source.
And I found it, a totally computerized metal box (about the size of a small camping trailer, only a silver rectangle) serving coffee. A young man stood before the very large-print directions. He was stymied and nervous, which made me feel better, because if the young guy was intimidated then I wasn’t alone.
We discussed it together. There was lots of screen-touching and then the swiping of a credit card. His three-digit order number popped up in numbers 6″ high on the screen and, giving me a relieved grin, he moved off to the right to wait for his iced coffee.
My turn. I ordered a small black coffee and swiped my card (not so easy, it turned out). There were two men waiting behind me and both of them had advice. None of us wanted to download the app onto our phones in order to get a cup of coffee. We shared a few laughs over needing coffee in order to understand the non-app directions and operate the damn thing, but I finished my order and waited my turn. Then it turned out I needed my three-digit order number to open the window and get my coffee. I’d totally blanked out on that, so a swipe of the credit card solved it (thanks to the advice of the silver-haired guy next to me).
All four of us were pretty proud of ourselves.
I’m guessing that this machine is a very recent addition to the airport.
We could watch the robotic arms doing all the coffee prep. I can’t believe I was awake enough to enjoy this, but Will and I had gone to our respective beds at 9 PM the night before, thank God, so I was almost perky.
It would be an easy trip back to Rhode Island and Banjo Man. We left the airport on a hot, humid afternoon and headed home. I crashed on the couch and Banjo Man defrosted a container of squash soup for our dinner.
There was very little food in the house, which I admit I am still a bit grumpy about. With a husband who loves to go to grocery stores, I usually don’t have to worry about running out of anything. But the refrigerator was 3/4 empty, as was the freezer. Banjo Man warned me on the way home from the airport and offered to stop for groceries before we got to the house. But a woman who has been up since 3 AM does not want to stagger around a supermarket while wondering what to cook for dinner.
Call me crazy, but I just wasn’t up to it.
We ate out Thursday and Friday nights. I saved my leftovers for lunch. On Saturday I braved the rain and wind and went out for food. Now the fridge is full and I have chicken for future enchiladas, beef for meatballs and a crock pot full of squash soup (a fall favorite).
By the way, while on the plane and in the airports I read Dan Brown’s ORIGIN novel, about robotics and the future of the world.
Not. Very. Interesting.
I skimmed quite a bit of it, while sipping my robot-made coffee. And while reading on the Kindle, of course, which I have repeatedly refused the “Alexa” app for. And the Kindle downloaded it anyway. Huh?
Now I can’t get rid of it.
The robots are here. And they’re not going anywhere. But at least they make a good cup of coffee.