Commuting… Pendeln… Faire la navette…
In any language, ‘commuting’ can sound tiring and difficult.
Long words to express long hours spent on trains each year.
However in Switzerland, I must confess, it is made very easy and convenient and I am enjoying it a lot. No stress from being stuck in traffic jams, just sitting down, relaxing, reading or people watching.
This doesn’t mean that you don’t face unpleasant situations, au ‘contraire’!
We all know that the world is full of ‘nutters’ and rude people but the world of commuting seems to attract them.
But commuting can also mean creating a bond with strangers a bond, with a smile, a simple hello, a ‘bless you’, that lasts until you reach your destination.
Here is my top ten of the best and the worst memories (based on a 6-year experience of commuting in Switzerland), in no particular order:
1. Being offered wine and dry meat by a bunch of old men, laughing and teasing each other like teenagers.
2. A woman (one in particular but it happens so many times! Swiss are quite attached to their bloody purses and luggages) got mental on me because I politely asked her to remove a luggage from the seat she wasn’t using so I could sit. How rude of me!
3. Commuting for a year, smiling to a Russian woman almost each day and one day she said ‘bonjour’ to me. Since then we hang out and a beautiful friendship was born.
4. The need some people have to clean their nose with their finger. There is always one not far from me. Go figure!
5. People think it is ok to put their barefoot on the empty seat next to you, it is NOT. Yes I do have a foot phobia but it is still not ok, there are no such things than beautiful feet. Fact!
6. 87% of the trains in 2012 departed on time. Impressed and grateful!
7. My favorite food & beverage man, commuting between Zurich and Luzern was one of my highlights. Dark skin, English accent. Always a joke. Don’t know his name but a huge thank you to him, he has been a sunshine for over 5 years.
8. Teenagers / young adults talking about their sexual life on the phone. So private you feel guilty when you involuntarily eavesdrop. Sometimes I cannot even help but to laugh about things I hear. My best memory? This young girl talking on her phone in German. She noticed I found her story hilarious and switched to Italian, which belongs to one of the languages I’m comfortable with and I kept laughing. She wasn’t impressed but I had fun
9. Jumping on the wrong train, going south when I was supposed to go west, noticing after 30 min. Even though I had a valid fare, the controller had a go at me for not realizing earlier.
Ääää excuse me I believe the inconvenience is only for me, or?!
10. A woman running late, door already closed, train controller couldn’t do anything (…as driver was ready to pull away) but she still called him an asshole, threatened him, showed him her middle finger and before running to find another, kicked the train. Good morning Switzerland.
So of course, there are positive AND negative aspects but all in all commuting in Switzerland is a blessing and will remain a pleasure for the next few years.
It is great to be rarely (if never) late to go to work and to be able to practice one of my favorite hobbies: people watching.
Happy trails and remember: Carpe Diem!