How to confuse the Swiss: A practical guide

Remember in Fraggle Rock how Uncle Traveling Matt use to refer to humans as "the silly creatures"? No? You don't? Well he did and watch more Fraggle Rock would you. And yes I love the Muppets on a much deeper level than you do.

Moving on.

The Swiss or "silly creatures" are a wonderful efficient and bureaucratic people. Example, our mail carrier would not allow me to sign for a package that was for Johnathan because I was not Johnathan. It didn't matter that I was home. It didn't matter that I showed him ID with my name and Johnathan's name on it, I was no him therefore I could not sign for the package. He physically took the package out of my hand and said my husband would have to come to the post office to get it and present ID.

They make German's look a little lazy and like they play fast and loose with the rule.

Despite the rules, the old ladies telling me to zip up my coat because its cold and the young people who are respectful and well behaved in public (that still weirds me out) we love it here.  We do seem to have what we like to call "hmmm!" moments quite often. Moments that cause us to laugh hysterically and immediately call someone and say, "You'll NEVER guess what just happened?!?"

So I give you, how to confuse the Swiss: A practical guide.

1. Have 4 items when it's a 3 items only fitting room. About a month ago I headed into town to do a little clothing shopping. I had 4 items to try on and the sign above the rooms said, 3 items only. Totally cool lots of places here and in North America have similar rules with varying item number allowance.

So I asked the girl could I take three in but perhaps hang my fourth item on the outside of the door or perhaps she could set it aside some where so I could grab it when I was done with one of the items. Makes sense right. Done it a bazillion times!! Well, the girl looked at me like I had three heads. She seriously looked like she had no idea what to do in this situation. So she consulted a co-worker. Co-worker had NO IDEA what to do so they called a third person. They had a bloody staff meeting. What ever would we do about this 4th item. You couldn't just hang it on the outside of the door. So they finally decided I would have to put back the 4th item. Try on the 3 items. Then should I decide I still want to try on the 4th item I should go retrieve it and rejoin the line for the fitting.

2. Jaywalk.

3. When buying a Bodum product tell the lady at the cash register that no it doesn't match my set but that's okay. I think she had a mini stroke when I told her no my kettle was purple, my hand mixer was green, my coffee press was red and now my pepper mill would be black.

4. Have friends send mail addressed to "Team Ham-Tin" Please note the picture to the right. That pink slip of paper was clipped to the envelope. It says, "Does this mailing belong to you?" Bahahahahahahahahaha!!

5. Go outside with a hoodie on when the rest of the Swiss seem to be dressed for -40...when it's really only about -5.

One of the little girls that lives in the building next door recently came running up to me whilst I was walking passed her on my way to go run some errands. She was positively frantic. In German she asked me if my mom knew I wasn't wear a coat! I processed this a moment and then said, "Well I'm from Canada, and this is a the kind of coat we wear in this weather because this really isn't that cold." I then asked her how old she thought I was. She looked at me like I was a complete idiot and said, "17." I'm keeping her.

6. Tell them that in Canada you don't have to pay to throw your garbage out. We get a look of horror, disgust and wonderment when we say that we can throw out our garbage in any bag we choose and we don't need to buy them at the same place at the grocery store where you buy your smokes.

7. Speak fluent German to them and then turn to your husband and speak fluent English to him. And proceed to translate your entire conversation. This confuses the Swiss particularly when I tell them I'm from Canada and that I've been fluent in German my entire life and that even though I'm from Canada I know exactly no French.

8. Tell them you can turn right on red in Canada.

9. Mention that bowling is not exotic nor rarely done. Go on to explain "all you can bowl" glow bowling night when you were a student and how it was a cheap family activity when you were growing up.

10. Tell them your husband grew up in a town of 200 people and that the next closest "big city" was about 2 hours away with basically nothing but flat in between. A friend of ours lives in an apartment block that houses more than his small town current population.


cristina mazzei said…
God I miss you. Keep writing!
April N said…
Laugh out loud
Anonymous said…
I'm with Cristina!

Anonymous said…
Funny because it is all true. Jo
Jake Hammell said…
There are people in Canada who find it hard it hard believe someone lived in a 200 person town, but I can imagine in Europe it'd be straight-up outrageous disbelief.