Thursday, October 11, 2007

Habits from Home and Abroad

As I was driving home tonight it was a bit foggy. Off in the distance I could see a dark car parking on the other side of the street. The car parked suddenly and turned off its lights. I immediately pulled my foot off of the gas and checked my speed limit. I had a automatic response. I thought the car was a cop car pulling over to set up a speed trap. I would categorize this as a totally American response. In Germany the speed traps are done during the day with cameras and several police officers waving down cars who were speeding.

When I got home I got settled, got a bite to eat and then went to the restroom. I went to the door, turned on the light, opened the door, and went into the restroom. This I would categorize as a totally German response. Light switches are commonly on the wall outside of a room. I can't tell you how often, since being here Germany, I have walked into a room and searched in vain in the dark for the light switch. Yes, I have even done this in our very own house. So, it was nice feeling to remember that the light switch goes first.

Thought it strange how habit plays such a vital roll in our daily lives and actions. And to see how ingrained some habits have become for me and how long it takes me to learn a new habit


C N Heidelberg said...

I never had to make a light switch adjustment when I moved here, because they are usually outside the bathroom door in Boston, too!! Actually our apartment here in Heidelberg has the switches inside the door again...

Gardner said...

@cn heidelberg
nice. Yes, I've seen both in and out here in Germany as well. Definitely have seen a lot of outside the door light switches, which I don't remember seeing so much in the Midwestern and Western United States.

March 2007