Take it easy, you’re in Vienna

October 23, 2007

I’ve sometimes been told that, as a person raised on the East coast, I wouldn’t be able to handle life in California. The people there are said to be too relaxed, too laid-back. Now, a reasonable person might see a relaxed, laid-back attitude as a positive thing. After all, argues the reasonable person, why hurry and be stressed out when you could just as easily take things slowly and enjoy your life.

East coasters are not reasonable people. I must admit: people who do things slowly bother me. Nowhere is this more obvious than while riding the Viennese U-Bahn. People stroll to catch their train. If they miss this one, oh well, there will be another coming along in 3 minutes. “That’s all well and good,” I say, “but I really wanted to catch that one.”

As a pseudo-New Yorker, it’s hard to adjust.  You will not catch anyone strolling through the New York subway. It’s just not done.  Even DC was this way. If you stand instead of walking on the left side of the escalator on the Washington Metro, you are likely to get yelled at. And in my opinion, you deserve to be. Escalator stairs are not the place for dawdling.

So, I’m getting a taste of what it would be like to be in California. I think the advice I received, to keep my distance, was sound.

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