Friday, November 18, 2005

castigado por completo

Having been a lecturer before becoming a full-time student, it was that I had the luxury back in South Africa of lending books from the university library for periods of at least three months. Further, the fines, if imposed, were always minimal (for a teacher). And if it´s a fine, one is always somehow prepared to pay it.

Imagine my surprise: a book that I had loaned at the Spanish university here, had become overdue for a period of two weeks, and upon returning it this past Monday I promtly discovered that instead of some fiscal sanction I was subject to a "no (book) loan period equivalent to the amount of time that the book was overdue". Ouch. That REALLY hurts.

So, it is not as if I cannot enter the building, and it is not as if I am barred from making use of the electronic resources (thank goodness) but having my borrowing rights revoked really hit me where it hurts most. Imagine who´s going to be a stellar library patron now?

Speaking of libraries, something which really annoys me is when people tear pages out, be they from books or magazines. Monday I sat in the lib reading the latest issue of The Economist, and there was a nice summary type article on Telefónica´s recent (takeover) bid for Britain´s O2 [Telefónica is Spain´s main (read for that `monopoly´) telecomms operator when it comes to fixed-line connectivity ], but which also gave a good overview of the EU telecomms scenario. The article was there on Tuesday, and I was able to read it, but then when I returned on Wednesday to make a quick xerox - poof! - the article had disappeared. That really provokes my ire - if only because it is a selfish/inconsiderate thing to be tearing pages from the common pool of knowledge stock that we´re all supposed to swim in... My, what a mixed metaphor that was. ...We have a tendency to do that (mix metaphors, not ´tear pages out of books/serials, though that happens too) in South Africa; not because of linguistic creativity and flair but usually due to mixed linguistic codes and/or illiteracy. Seriously. Well, of course I was able to retrieve an electronic copy of the article - which in may ways is a better access method but still does not excuse la persona desconocida que ha agarrado la página.


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