Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Baby Hatch

So the other day I was trying to return a book to one of the many closet-sized University libraries scattered around Vienna. The library had closed before I got there at 2:00 or something equivalently ridiculously early and I was trying to determine whether the slot in the door was just for mail, or also a book drop. I deliberated for a long time and even called one of my Austrian friends, who from my description was also unsure. Fortunately I was talking long enough and loud enough (it is great being American isn't it?) while holding open slot flap (I have no idea what the right word for that thing is) that one of the employees came from the back and let me give back my book. Tangentially, if it wasn't her somebody had definitely been smoking pot there. Anyway, she was very nice and it turned out the slot really was just for mail. She called the slot a Babyklappe, which sounded innocent enough at the time, you know baby slot whatever, the things are low, you know like babies built them for babies or something. Then I spoke to my friend Eva. She told me a Babyklappe is a hatch/box that mothers can put their babies in after birth if they want to give it up. Apparently these things are pretty common and started Middle Ages. Just thought you should know, though I don't think they should use the same word for any kind of slot, that could end badly.

6 comments:

Nella said...

That's interesting: in Italy, you see attached to the medievel/reinssance hospitals and churches and nunneries revolving baby doors, (they look like baby lazy susans with dividers) but that's just odd that the Austrians still use the name. I am amused though, and can just imagine the poor, harrassed Austrian parent who isn't paying attention and puts little Junior in, rather than the overdue books.

Barbarossa said...

Yeah, and then an hour later at home realizes he has definately missing something, then realized he still has the library books, but distinctly remembers going to the library and putting something in the book drop. Something book link, but squishy, and whiny like a...baby!-Gasp-

Seriously though, a book drop would be dangerous for a baby wouldn't it? Small dark, new books being dropped in all the time that would have to be dodged.

Nella said...

Oh, I donno about that. Babies are incredible resilent little buggers, and unless someone is trying to drop off the "Complete History of Everything European EVER" or "121 Complete Translations of the Bible Including Those Apocraphal Books that are Only Found In Catholic Editions", I think the kid could hold his own intil the librarian checks the book drop the next morning.

Barbarossa said...

Fair enough. I pretty much picture all of this being like Mario with the baby having to jump to avoid slow falling books. I mean I suppose it would weed out the weak babies a la Darwin.

Nella said...

MWHAHA! I can just imagine it now! A race of Super Babies, where only the strong escape the crushing fate at the hand of the bounded Leatherbacks, and Weaned on the Pain of the Written Word!!!


LITERACY OR DEATH!!!

Barbarossa said...

Come to think of it, isn't that an analogy for our entire education system? Young children forced into dark boxes and having books dropped on them till their learn or die trying. Then then the succesful are let out of the dark book drop of high school to going absolutely insane in college. Yes. Perfect allegory.