Thursday, August 17, 2006

[Blog Entry] Romance on Microfilm

Romance on Microfilm

One thing I never got right was the difference between microfiche and microfilm. They look (and sound) the same to me. Anyway, I've been researching at the Philippine Star's library for the past week, and it's only today that I got to use the Microfilm projector.

Not that it was my first time handling one. While we always see it in movies (from budding newspaper journalists to student researchers), the closest I got to seeing one in real life was at the Ateneo de Manila University's library. As a freshman, we were given a tour of the library, and the microfilm room was on the ground floor, easily one of the first rooms you see upon entering the place. Not that I found the time to actually use it, but I was always remotely interested in trying out gadgets.

Still, it won't be until my second or third year that I would have actually been forced to use one. I forgot if it was for Filipino (2nd year) or History (3rd year) class (perhaps it was even my Social Anthropology class), but we were required to do research. We were to submit a report on the events that transpired on the day we were born.

What I do remember is that when I got to the Microfilm room, my crush (which, after spening my entire college years courting, should honestly be no secret as to who it is, except to my blockmates since my red herring worked too well...) followed suit. Unfortunately, she hasn't been talking to me for several months, and it still pained (and thrilled) me to see her. We shared two things in common though: the same professor (albeit in a different schedule), and absolute bafflement on how to go about using microfilm.

Us not being the only students of the same professor, there were other students in the room, all in a rush to find the appropriate microfilm and machine. My birthday and my crush's birthday was two months apart, but since broadsheets were thin back then, me and my crush were after the same roll of microfilm. Me being the better navigator (or as my friends will later discover, the more efficient finder when it comes to looking for stuff in a shelf, especially books), I was the first one to grab on to the microfilm. Sensing that this was a good opportunity to rekindle our friendship, I offered that we work together. She agreed and actually talked to me, breaking the silent treatment she had given for a few semesters.

And then we came upon the microfilm projector which I had no idea to use. I don't even need to tell my male readers how important it is to a guy's ego to look like he knows what he's doing (that's why males don't like getting unheeded advice). I didn't pretend knowing what to do. My only consolation there is that she didn't either. We called for the librarian. He chided us for being juniors (or sophomores, depending on how accurate my memory serves) and not knowing how to use the microfilm projector, and did a quick sample. Fortunately for me, I quickly caught on to it and started doing my homework.

Suffice to say, she still didn't know how to use it after one demonstration, so I helped her with the microfilm projector. I even navigated it to the date she was supposed to be searching for. More could have been achieved that day but it was not destined to be so. The bell rang, and I had a class. She didn't. I said my farewells, and went to class. She stayed, and didn't look back to see me leave.


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