At first I liked the Swiss type-A-ness. The cleanliness, timeliness and rules all made me feel safe and secure in this new country. Now, however, my opinions are far from enthusiastic. I know a lot of the rules (like having a train ticket and the trash and recycling systems) are there to uphold the [pretty high] quality of life but there are some things that really make me pause and want to shout, "Are you kidding me!????!!!"
The latest [mis]adventures have had to do with driving. Now I am a very slow, fairly cautious driver. I've never received a speeding ticket or caused an accident (I've been hit twice though, once when I wasn't even in the car) no points on my license. But a couple weeks ago I got my first parking ticket. I had to drive to TB's house because I had to take Boy to a doctor's appointment immediately after my time with TB. There are marked indicators of where one should park on the street and the only "spot" I could find left me with half of the car sticking out. I figured since anyone could see the cars in front of me had parked so poorly that squeezing into this spot was my only option aside from illegally parking I would remain ticket-free. TB and I took a stroll and the car was fine a half an hour before my departure. When I got back however, there it was, a 40 CHF ticket. I was so angry but there was nothing I could do.
Yesterday I drove into Zürich to meet a friend at the police station to report her stolen purse (and passport, and just about everything important). I only had change for a half hour on the meter and since a meter maid was hanging about I knew I had to be pretty punctual. My ticket expired at 1:59 and as I jogged back to the car I was chatting with Kristina. I rounded the corner to the parking lot when I saw the [stupid evil] meter maid writing me a ticket. I quickly hung up, broke into a full out sprint and began my pleading with the evil meter maid who was writing me a ticket. It was 2:00.
EMM: Something indecipherable in Swiss German.
Me: "Bitte!!" (Please!!)
EMM: She said in German (using the impolite form to address me mind you) You cannot be late. You paid for a half hour.
[The time is now 2:01.]
Me: "Ich weiss. Es tut mir leid. Aber ich bin zwei minuten später!!" (I know, I'm sorry. But I am two minutes later!)
Me: "Nay, nay nay." (No no no.)
More of my half German pleading and she finally let me go without a ticket. I think it might have been the dejected way I laid my head on the front door or maybe she didn't want to deal with my poor foreign language pleading. Either way, she wasn't kind about it and although I entertained the idea I didn't use any of the choice German words that I know.
Swiss Parking Gestapo: 1