steepholm (steepholm) wrote,

In Which I Have a Blimp on my Shoulder

In just over a year my department will be moving up to the main university campus, away from our shabby-picturesque mid-nineteenth-century site in Fishponds. I'm not particularly relishing the move, even though the facilities there are better. For a start, I always get lost (and I've been going there for twenty years now); but also, I find I often see things that make me want to write a letter to the Daily Telegraph beginning with the words "Why oh why". And I don't want to be that person.

Like today - I went to buy a coffee at one of the cafes there. Here's the scene, a bit out of focus I'm afraid, :


As you can see, beneath the dingy attempt at patriotism sits a menu written entirely in Italian, as is the way with coffee these days. But there are indications that not all the customers are familiar with the lingo. So we have, on one side, a sign reading: "An Americano is a BLACK Coffee." (Yes, if you shout we're bound to understand.) And, on the other: "A Macchiato is an Americano with Milk".

But you know, if you have to explain it, why not put "Black Coffee" on the menu? It's not as if Americano is a more accurate description of what they actually serve. Also, to say that a macchiato is a black coffee with milk is just misleading - at least, for anyone who might be looking in vain for what used to be called a white coffee. Oh why oh why?

And then there's this sign, :


Now, I do see that it would be irritating to have someone smoking right outside your open office window. But 100 yards??? How did they come up with that figure? Just how many parts per million of carcinogens will be in the smoke by the time it completes its hundred-yard dash from cigarette to open window? Also, on a densely-built campus, how many places are there more than 100 yards from any window or door? To be helpful, I've created a map showing which parts of the campus are now available for the enjoyment of smokers:


I hope they have a good time in Car Park 2 and the All-Weather Pitch. I've never smoked myself, but - well! Why oh why oh why?
Tags: real life, work
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