“Damn this fly is rusted on good” I thought as I stood at the urinal giving it the best pressure wash treatment I could muster. Turns out all the effort was for nought. Decent lighting soon revealed the Swiss tendency for painting flies on urinals. Which begs the question, why? This is the genius of the Swiss psyche for cleanliness and orderliness. The fly acts as a painted target for unsuspecting males to engage their competitive instincts for clearing the porcelain and by doing so, keeping the cleaner’s job a little shorter.
The painted fly is just the tip of the iceberg for “keeping up appearances.” Aside from the eye-blowing landscape and infrastructure the Swiss have retrofitted to it, the other outstanding feature is the lack of human slovenliness. To see a coke can or chip packet on the street verge is akin to a unicorn heading up a team of flying hogs. The street and waterways are absolutely pristine not withstanding cigarette butts and chewing gum, for some reason these are exceptions to the rule. Woodheaps are prime examples of the Swiss penchant for exactness. They are more like pieces of art than a dump of wood. Wood pieces are uniform of colour, width, length, species and equal in number for columns and rows. It was tempting to remove a piece but I could relate to this perculiar OCD and instead admired their national obsession.
You would be hard pressed to think outside of America that there would be anyone who could compete with their unabashed levels of pride in the national flag. Until you visit Switzerland. Their streets are awash with white crosses set on red backgrounds. Fair enough too with its striking ode to simplistic design and Red Cross connection. The flag’s cross is 1/6th taller than it is wide and draws its inspiration from the canton (federal state) of Schwyz. It’s a shame Australian’s don’t share the same sense of reverence and togetherness for flag and country, perhaps we haven’t yet made enough history?