From my balcony a few days ago, I noticed a flurry of children coming home for their noon luncheon break.
They swirled around as they looked at the snow piled up on the sidewalk – five girls and one boy, about 10-12 years old. Ages are hard to gauge among people in a different culture.
The boy picked up a huge armful of snow and began to pack and sculpt it. Uh, oh. The girls were oblivious, chatting and laughing. Then a few of them picked up some globs of snow and studied what they had.
The boy was pretty far ahead and walking backwards facing the girls. I braced myself for a huge snow fight. But… nothing. They never raised their voices, no snow crammed down jacket backs, and the boy tosssed his by now tiny ball off to the side.
This behavior would be viewed as unnatural in the U.S. Psychologists would be brought in to consult and find out what was wrong with the parents. Not only that calm behavior did I see, but there were no snowmen or other sculptures anywhere.
Is this just Zofingen? Only Canton Aargau? Only German-speaking Switzerland. It’s clear that I’ll have to do more research on this topic.
My friend from Baden complains bitterly about “Kids today!” but her examples are of screaming, nagging babies and children on the train. I looked closely at a particularly bad case and the family appeared to be non-Swiss.
Also, as I’ve noted in the past, there are many, many non-Swiss living here now – some asylum-seekers, some looking for work, some … just wandered over the border and are taking advantage of soup days, mid-day free meals, etc.
The snow here in Zofingen is similarly well-behaved. A centimeter or two that gets scraped off immediately by apartment managers, city workers, private building owners. The weather is switching between tempest like snow swirls to sunny – just like a teenager’s moods.
I say building because it appears that in my neighborhood, at least, businesses are on the ground floor and dwellings are upstairs. Many cars have business logos and lots of businesses appear to be one-man operations – advisors, professionals like architects, doctors, naturopaths, auto repair shops, etc.
Now, if a rare storm roared in from, oh say, Eastern Europe, I suspect the snow would be far less calm. As would be the Swiss reaction.