Thursday, December 1, 2016

Things that will kill you: a cultural comparison

American children are taught to publicly shame anyone who smokes.  We had many discussions with our kids upon arriving in Europe about not commenting on someone's smoking status.  Comments like "Look at dat smokah!" and "You know, smoking is bad because you will DIE." have been shushed more than once. (If you've met our kids, you'll know which statement came from which child)

Bottom line is that people here smoke. It's Europe.  That's just part of the experience.

However, even Matthew and I chuckled and shook our heads at this:

Yes, it's a cigarette machine on the sidewalk in front of a house down the street from us.  Kind of like how restaurants in the U.S. used to have cigarette machines in the back by the bathrooms, but more convenient.

We have had lively conversations imagining the use, advertisement, and placement of the machine: "Run out of smokes mid-walk home and can't make it to the grocery store 2 blocks away? No worries! Just stop by the machine in front of your friendly neighbor's house!"

"Where should the new cigarette machine be placed for maximum convenience?"  "Well, my yard's empty..." 

Since noticing this one, I've seen a few more in other nearby neighborhood settings too.  And even once saw a man making a purchase. He looked askance...almost as ashamed as you would expect someone to be in the U.S.

On the other hand, in Germany you will be publicly shamed for jaywalking when a "Do Not Walk" sign is illuminated. "You are setting a bad example for the children!"

I kid you not.  That is exactly what is shouted.  After could kill you.  


No comments:

Post a Comment