Lately, The Frau has been disturbing Swiss order in a big, fat unintentional American way.
First, if you’ll remember, she had the nerve to think that banana bread could be a substitute for Zopf at a Swiss daycare birthday party for her daughter.
Then, she ventured to do one length of breaststroke in the freestyle and backstroke lane at the pool in Zurich. How dare she think she could get away with that, yodelers!
Finally, after these two incidents within a week, when buying a couple of train tickets for her parents, she asked two different SBB clerks in Baden to double check that she could use a both a Mitfahrbillet and a Mitnahme GA together with her own GA (Swiss train pass).
|SBB Rules: One conductor had |
her own version of them.
Photo: Brian Opyd
Ja ja, was the reply, after much research and phone calling on the SBB ticket agent side—because who the heck would try to combine two SBB promotions other than a cheapskate American expat…
But nevertheless, three train connections into their Mitfahrbillet, Mitnahme GA, and GA journey, The Frau was told she broke the rules (how dare she use these two ticket combinations together!) by an SBB train conductor. The Frau argued her way out in crappy Deutsch, finally ending the 10-minute discussion with a, “Dass ist nicht mein Problem that in your eyes the rules are different than the SBB ticket agents in Baden.”
“Well I'll let it go this time,” said the SBB train conductor (finally!), “but don’t go doing something like this ever again!”
(A classic example of Swiss customer service.)
All of these experiences made The Frau realize how she never, no matter how long she lives in Switzerland, quite fits in. No matter how hard she tries to follow Swiss rules, she always ends up interpreting them in an American way.
In other words, she always assumes more leniency, customer service, and friendliness than she receives. She can’t help it. And it doesn’t matter that her American husband plays the alphorn or that they both play Jass. After 7+ years in Switzerland, they still can’t seem to play by what’s most important: the rules.