Sunday, March 24, 2013

Things that are weird

Today I went shopping for intricately hand-painted eggs, which I intend to hang on branches of pussy willows. Because that is what one does in Vienna, at Spring/Easter time.

Pussy willow destine painted eggs.

This got me thinking about other things that are "weird." And yes, I know that the traditions of another place are not actually weird. I am the weird one here, with my weirdo accent and perpetual deer-in-the-headlights look (because I understand virtually nothing of what anyone is saying). Regardless, to me, the following idiosyncrasies are weird.

1. Grocery store checkouts. These are the epitome of efficiency, which means some super speedy German speaking lady (I have yet to encounter a male cashier), flings your items across the till into the ridiculously small area at the end of the till. You do your own bagging, but you aren't meant to do it here or now. As the lady chucks your groceries across, and you need to replace them into the cart with equal speed. And you must simultaneously get your money ready in order to pay WITHOUT DELAY. Thinking of digging out correct change because you have a MILLION dollars in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cent coins? Forget it. Said cashier is likely already tapping her nails and about to yell at you (in German, of course) about how idiotic you are and how you are wasting everyone's time. Ok, so you pay, get back a whole new mitt full of change and move to the small special counter where you can take your groceries out of your cart and place them in your bags. Exhale. Weird.

2. Personal Space in public places. There is none. Feel free to actively touch, bump, nudge, or shoulder check anyone. And don't apologize or acknowledge if you've done so. Because that would be weird. What are you, Canadian? I did keep thinking I was getting mugged (from people bumping into or otherwise touching me or my purse/coat), but this is just something one does. In fact, I've adapted quickly and today I caught myself bumping into and reaching right over someone, without even flinching. As one does.

3. The signage. Oh, the signage. What is the point of using symbols instead of words? I would think that symbols are universal, while languages may vary. So symbols make sense to everyone. Except me. In Austria. Check these out:

And what about this:

  Maybe they make sense to you, but to me these signs are weird. You can check out what they really mean, along with a bunch of other head-scratchers at

 Taking my weird self to my weird bed...

1 comment:

  1. The last one must be: 'never, ever in a million years think of doing that here'
    I have a photo of a great one from Italy. I'll send it to you via email as I can't post it on your blog.