Weird things that happen to me in Geneva

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20/12/2009 by etiennefish

Sometimes its easy to forget that Geneva is a normal town like any other, with it’s perfectly manicured streets, its clean lines and functionality, and it’s mixture of the world’s countries. It sometimes reminds me more of the It’s a Small World ride at Disney World than a normal city. Then, the normal, weird things that happen to me in any other town in the world occur to me here, and I remember that I do live in reality, even if it sometimes appears more rosy than other places I’ve been. Here’s an example of one such strange thing that happened to me the other day:

As I turned the corner to head down the street where I live, I watched a guy bike up the hill on the sidewalk (not the road or any other designated cycling lane, mind you), almost hit me, and then instead get hit by a parked car, who’s driver opened his door just at the perfect moment. He was, as you might imagine, completely taken out. He flew over his handlebars and landed, dazed and unceremonious at my feet. I froze for a second. I mean this isn’t exactly what I expected to see on my walk home. So I blinked, like a deer in a spotlight, down at him, and he blinked, equally frozen, up at me. The driver still hadn’t stood up from his car. Suddenly time restarted itself, and I asked the man if he was okay, and as he started to stir, I reached a hand to help him up. The driver from the car finally got out of his seat. The cyclist, now standing finally turned around to look at the driver. They both stared at each other unmoving for at least 30 seconds without expressions on either face, and without moving. Finally, the driver shrugged and inadequately (and without any real remorse, I thought) said ‘Desole,’ Sorry, and went back to getting his bag out of the car. I realised then that I myself hadn’t moved from my spot, and was, in fact, staring quite rudely at this exchange. After assuring myself that the cyclist didn’t appear to have any extensive injuries, I carried on walking the final 2 blocks or so to my home, thinking the entire way back, how weird that was.

Additionally, I would like to point out a reoccurring and strange little game that I have noticed people enjoy playing with me here. Basically, people can’t seem to make up their mind what side of the street they would like to pass me on. What I mean to say is that it’s not a consistent left or right thing, but appears to be entirely contingent upon their crossing to the side of the sidewalk that I am innocently minding my own business on (which could be right or left depending on my arbitrary decision of the moment) and then trying to pass me on the side in which there is no room (you know, building or street side), so that I then have to move completely over to make room for them. Why is this little dance constantly necessary?!?! If someone could just pass me a rulebook, it’d be much appreciated, but meanwhile, it is one of those things that amuses me on my walks to and from the bus stop every day.

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December 2009
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