Thursday, January 10, 2008

Contingency etiquette

As of this moment, we are personally acquainted with three Swiss people. And one of these people thinks I can't clean up the laundry room properly, so there are really only two Swiss people with whom we've had normal social encounters. Lest you think we live in vacuum, I should say that all of Swiss Mr.'s colleagues hail from outside Switzerland. And you know how foreigners stick together. It's no wonder we spend more time with Italians and Israelis.

But in case one of our new neighbors happens to know English, or we stop speaking like cave people, or a Swiss friend falls from the sky, I am reading up on Swiss etiquette. I think this will also help me be a better citizen (ahem, "citizen"), lowering the chances that the Alienspolice will come after me and export me home like a Swatch.

This research has been useful. I now know that slouching in public is greatly frowned upon (eliminated lazy bus posture immediately), as is putting your hands in your pockets (will now freeze fingers out of cultural sensitivity), and littering (never was one for littering; I'll have to start picking it up). Respect for privacy is an important value so I commit to stop watching neighbors out the peephole and peeking into others' shopping bags. Please hold me accountable -- our nation's reputation is at stake. Thank you.

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