Who knew that the quest to find a pocket analog thermometer would cause such hassles in the little medieval village? The journey has led me through most all the stores in town, where the closest thing to small and portable is the $50 dollar digital does anything thermometer.
“I just want a simple thermometer that I can stick in a bit of milk to train my hands to the feel of 140 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.”
“But this is Celsius, can you read this?” Expounded the salesperson.
“It’s ok, ma’am, I can covert the numbers, even Kelvin if needed.”
“What is Kelvin?”
"it's another temperature measure."
"are you making that up?"
You have to understand that I probably resemble something more of a Yugoslavian or eastern European visitor to this city. I blend in quite well with the African and Middle Eastern refugee’s. That I usually have a backpack with my computers, drives and German lesson books on me – it has me looked upon with suspicion.
It might also be that there is an art show, something that seems to be taking over Europe as towns allow their buildings and spaces to be the art gallery. I am not sure what art really is via a great definition, but all I see wandering the city besides the refugees and myself are a smattering of what you might call the “art type.”
I really never studied the psychology of the “art” type, but I am guessing there are a mindset and a style about trying to look different and be unique to everything.
That makes the strange American who is looking for a pocket analog thermometer, who refuses to wear anthers logo on apparel – look pretty strange.
“Yes, there is a distinct taste difference in the 20 difference between a latte and cappuccino foam…it is the sweetness of the taste of the milk!” (The actual reason I want to replace my broken thermometer – to become a bigger coffee snob/geek)
As I typed that last sentence, I had to wonder if I am mentally all here, or is my time in Switzerland turning more into an Alice in wonderland type adventure than anything.
Now some beautiful horses that offer rides to people are walking down the main street. It was ironic that the one driver was screaming at a bunch of kids having a water fight at the local fountain that one can actually drink out of. Not sure if this is the clash of generations? Or the idea that the old woman in the shop was talking about with people not being happy.
It is as if there is a certain way life must appear here. God forbid anything moves or changes. It seems to affect people’s mindsets of the way the world works. The reality is that maybe this is an illusion of sorts in Switzerland; much like in the USA we seem to want to pretend with our pride that we are great or the best. The reality is maybe at one time some years ago, we really were, but now we are resting on our laurels. Switzerland didn’t go through the reconstruction of ww2, the probably financed it and were pretty smart in creating one of the better places to live on the planet – if you don’t like change, value stability, and want a very nice quality of life.
My final straw in the adventure to find the pocket thermometer was in a store where I took off my backpack to show the saleswoman what I needed. She pulled out a giant meat thermometer and said, “this will work!”
“Yes, it will work, but do you really think I want to carry that monstrosity around with me, all so i can tell the difference in a better latte foam vs a nice cappuccino foam? ( that still sounds weird to type, but it is amazing the difference in the taste in 20 degrees f )
As I exited the store, I think I was followed by store security (nice lady in high heels that should never go into undercover police work) who when I exited the store, I turned and looked her in the eyes,
“Excuse me, why exactly are you following me? Can i help you?"
Stunned, she turned around and walked the other way. I am more than happy to take of the backpack, allow one to go through my pockets and whatever, but it is simply creepy to be followed around in a store because you look different than the norm.
There is a lot to the “Swiss farmer doesn’t eat what he doesn’t know.” While I really enjoy the quality and type of Swiss food, I really like eating the food from the other 200 plus countries on the planet too. Ok, I think I was only in 50-60 of them, but I have yet to be in a country where you didn’t’ appreciate and enjoy that which was different.
It doesn’t play out that way here. Different is looked upon with suspicion. I still think of my friend telling me the story of the farmer that shot and killed a white albino badger cause, “I never saw nothing like it before, it was different!”
Man has an issue with different, through history we tend to kill that which is not just like us. Maybe times will change? Then again, i am a hopeful optimist.
I type this note up, in response to some comments from the world of artificial intelligence and man always coming up with brilliant new inventions and tools to make his life easier and more convenient – yet – even if allow man to see himself, what is inside, and how it operates – will man really want to change?
Or will he say we manipulated and photo-shopped his emotions and soul?