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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Things Must be Straight

Hoi! It is a heat wave in Zurich. And that means tons of hotness and no air conditioning.
I have to say, people seem relatively okay with that here. They dress for it. Sorta. I am used to dressing light, but still more comfortable in long sleeves at the office. Well we can put that preference to bed right here and now. I am so done with long sleeves. In a meeting today, I couldn’t help but start removing as many layers as was socially acceptable. Being the new one in the office, I kinda didn’t want to undress – but it was either that or pass out.

I love Zurich. It’s a rather proper city. Green initiatives are common place. I feel safe here. Heck I even left my briefcase on a tram with computer, iPad, house keys, and various personal papers to make certain that any would be thief would know where I lived – and I’ll be darned if the bag wasn't still on the tram 45 minutes and a bunch of stops later.

However, what was most cool about the briefcase incident is that I was told to hop on a tram at a certain spot at exactly 10:14. So I waited anxiously, watching my watch and the various trams. One pulled up at 10:14 but I was not hopeful. What kind of city tram would actually be on time to the minute?

Turns out a Zurich one.

I’m not Swiss. And that is pretty apparent. Swiss people dress appropriately for hot weather thereby avoiding the need to later remove garments in the office, they do not forget briefcases in the tram, and they expect (and deliver) precision timing.

I suppose a recent interaction with my landlord could best summarize my recent experiences. He was explaining to me that someone would be coming to repair something in my bathroom. “It just isn’t straight,” he said. When he saw my eyes searching for something that didn’t look straight he laughed. “This is Switzerland he said – things must be straight.”

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