Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Zebra anarchists

Finns are probably one of the most rule loving nations on this planet. Everything goes by the book here. It even surprises someone like me coming from Germany. Just one example are those funny numbers you have to take whenever you want to get customer service anywhere in Finland. This system is useful, no doubt. But even if there is no other customer in a radius of the next 20 kilometers I can assure you that you won’t be served before you take one of those numbers. Not to mention all the regulations when it comes to the topic alcohol. But more on that some other time.

All those rules are of course important to keep the country as organized, clean and international successful as it is. And people in Finland are glad to follow them. The really low crime rate reflects that.

But there is one thing where the Finnish rule following need stops working. And that is when it comes to zebra crossings. Finns just don’t stop if there is a pedestrian waiting to cross the street. After observing this for while I began to doubt that zebras here even have the same function as in most other countries. Maybe they meant something completely different like “try to not to loose speed when you pass by here with your car”. But I was assured that this is not the case – at least not officially. 

But I have to admit that last week when I was again waiting to pass the street finally one car stopped and gave me way. I thanked the driver with a waving gesture being happy to prove my observation about the Finnish zebra anarchists wrong. Then I realized: the car was from Estonia.

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