Sunday, July 20, 2008

I'm such a rebel

Another small difference between Austria (and Germany, and most of Northern Europe aside from Britain and Russia) and the USA: jaywalking. Hailing from the New York metro area, I take it as my inalienable right to cross a street on my own terms, and not when some red light or flashing orange hand says so. Obviously, I don't walk out into oncoming traffic, and indeed, I make certain to look both ways. But then, if the coast is clear, I saunter off across the street, leaving a host of bewildered onlookers behind me.
Then (and this is the hilarious part) almost every time that I cross a street when the light is red, somebody who had been waiting patiently suddenly gets up enough nerve to cross the street a second or two after me. Certainly I have thus incurred the wrath of scores of parents of 3-6 year old children who tell their children that what I am doing is on a par with armed robbery. But I prefer to think that by jaywalking, I've helped introduce a little bit more freedom into a society that could use a little less classical music and philosophy and a little bit more cheekiness, every now and then.
Also, I had mentioned last time that I would write a little bit about my birding trip to Hungary from last week with my friend Jeff. We had great looks at Great Bustard (the world's heaviest flying bird) Red-Footed Falcon (with young!), Hoopoe, and Grey Partridge. That's probably all the birding for this summer, but lots of family tree research and an AFS conference in France are on the table for the upcoming weeks.

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