...except for me and my monkey! "Everything we see hides another thing. We always want to see what is hidden by what we see." -Rene Magritte

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Love song to Aubrey R. Watzek

Man, if you want to get really confused and frustrated, come down to Valparaíso, enroll in the university, and then try to do the assigned class reading. First, you will have to figure out what the reading is. It´s not printed on the syllabus. One of two things will generally happen, leading to a flow chart of possible misunderstandings. One: the professor will hand a photocopy of the reading off to a student, who will leave it in one of many photocopy shops across the street, and you will have to find the specific photocopy shop and pay for copies of the reading. This is the best-case scenario. Far more difficult is Option Two: the professor announces, or writes on the white-board (best for those whose Spanish is not quite up to snuff), for instance, ´´pg. 46-79 La Iglesia en la época del absolutismo.´´ Since books are so expensive in Chile--they´re taxed like 25%, I heard--students don´t buy their books; everything, including complete novels and dictionaries (!), is photocopied. So, now forty students all need to make photocopies of one chapter in one particular book of which there are four or so copies in the library. So, you go to the library...or you head to the library, but you stop by the international student office to ´´check your email´´ first. Two hours later, you leave and head downstairs to the libary. The library closes at six in the afternoon. D´oh. But it says in the student planner that the library is open between nine in the morning and one in the afternoon on Saturdays, okay. So you get up early on Saturday, take the bus from Viña to Valparaíso, only to discover that the library is, in fact, closed. The hours printed in the agenda don´t actually go into effect until September. You have thirty pages of reading in a language you don´t completely understand for an exam on Tuesday, and you have plans you can´t break all Monday night. You are frustrated and angry at yourself for not going to the library first thing on Friday, so you head downtown with a friend who has also been foiled by the library to eat cake, drink coffee, and complain.

You wake up at the crack of dawn on Monday, haul yourself down to the library, which is now open. But, all the copies of the book you need are checked out and won´t start coming back until the next day, the day of the test. You try to call your friend in the class, but his phone is off or something. You get frustrated again and spend an hour reading McSweeney´s Internet Tendency and checking your friends´ blogs. Finally, you walk over to the Instituto de Ciencias Religiosas in hopes of running into someone from your class who will help you out. Success! You borrow a classmate´s photocopies just before she runs off to class and make your own photocopies, then leave the first-generation copies with the Instituto de Ciencias Religiosas secretary. You spend the rest of Monday, when not in class, trying to make sense of the reading and thanking Aubrey R. Watzek for benefacting a twenty-four hour library.