Tuesday, 9 February 2010

the kids are all right

A street scene to restore my faith in the Swiss as a nation. Walking past a school in the Paquis (a slightly scruffy part of Geneva -- which means the sidewalks are very clean but not actually polished) at 15:45 or so local time I was pleased to hear children giggling. Rounding the corner I came upon a knot of them -- boys and girls maybe ten years old, wearing uniforms which had been artfully untucked and unbuttoned, in the manner of schoolkids the world over. They were spelling a word aloud to each other, boys and then girls, letter by letter, gasping and snickering after each letter. They finished the word as I reached them, and burst into an explosion of giggles.

The word was -- well, you can guess the kind of word it was. In every country (except Ireland for some reason -- I nearly choked on my beer once, hearing a proper looking woman bellow it out) , a word teachers would disapprove of.

The kids shut up when they saw me, but as soon as I was past them the giggles returned, louder than ever, and they began another word. The ghosts of Calvin and Zwingli were turning in their graves, but I smiled all the way back to the hotel.


Jennifer Mook-Sang said...

your story made me smile

Marilyn said...

Well, if it was a group of kindergarten kids, they would be laughing over the words: underwear or bum or butt. My group can't handle any of these without falling off chairs. Please, would they just evolve.
Year after year, it's the same thing.

Richard Scrimger said...

kindergarten to grade whatever -- some topics never lose their humorous appeal. Personally, I'm all for it. Good to have a go-to place for a joke.

Jennifer Mook-Sang said...

hey richard,
i've come back to read your earlier posts. thanks for all the smiles. and i enjoy your books too.

Anonymous said...

Hi Richard, love your Swiss comments. I've been a Swiss for most of my adult life and I love what you managed to find out about the national character in three days! Once you dig, as you did, you'll find out that Switzerland is the best kept secret in Europe because the Swiss hide behind their squeaky clean rule-abiding image and their lousy reputation as money gnomes to be really rather a happy people who care about others. It was great to participate in your class.

jo ann Hansen Rasch said...

sorry I didn't mean to be anonymous when I wrote the above comment. Must be that I'm European, so old and forgetful!!!!!