...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

Monday, August 29, 2005

Trouble with a capital T and that rhymes with P and that stands for Photocopies

I sense that this is becoming a pattern. By far the most frustrating thing about being a university student in Chile is the photocopy system. I don´t know how Chilean students work it--I literally don´t know. I am baffled at how anyone manages to do the reading here. In Chilean Literature class last Monday, the professor said that he was putting all of the reading for today´s Control de Lectura (reading test, basically) on Bibloteca Agora, their underused, in my opinion, version of electronic reserves. I check Agora a few days later. One of the articles is there--the shortest one. Mariah goes to the library to look for the books; they´re checked out. But then the next day I run into Waleska, a Chilean friend/aquaintence in the class, and she tells me that all of the reading is being held at Fotocopiadora 12 de Febrero, across the street. We go there; the woman working there tells me that she gave the books we need out to a kid and doesn´t have any of the articles. Back to the library, books have recently been re-checked out. We meet Waleska on Saturday to photocopy her photocopies at a place near the Plaza Anibal Pinto; it takes two and a half hours. Two and a half hours! That´s an hour and half more than the photocopy woman told us it would take (you don´t make your own copies here, you just hand over the article or book to the worker and they do it for you while you wait). Plus, I don´t know if the woman, like, fucking shuffled the pages before she photocopied them, but she presented us with a stack of over 150 sheets, all mixed up, originals with copies, which we had to sort ourselves, which took for-freaking-ever and was incredibly frustrating, not least because the page numbers had been cut off so we had to go by context and sentence structure. By the time we had them sorted into distinct piles, the shop was ready to close for the afternoon, because it was after 3. The icing on the cake was that it cost over twice as much as it would have at 12 de Febrero or any other fotocopiadora near the university--1360 pesos or something like that, which is less than three dollars but exhorbidant for photocopies. We asked if we could get a discount since it took so much longer than she said it would and since we had to sort them ourselves, but she said no, because--this was her reason--she let us use the counter to sort the copies, and we took up a lot of space.

Oooh, we were angry. We left calmly and then exploded in the street. Oh, and this particular reading was 134 pages long. It was an entire (short) book. So, I stayed in Saturday night and read all 134 pages of it. It was a blast.