Thursday, February 17, 2011
"Wait 'till the green light says go..."
As a German-in-Training, my stance on this issue fluctuates. Depending on my mood, I either wait ("so as to be a good example for kids" as David explains) or cross, depending on how many times Deutsche Bahn has tried my patience during my commute. Sometimes I just can't be bothered to stand there for two or three minutes, and then again at the next crossing light for two or three minutes (because it seems that the lights are not coordinated to go off at the same time--often you cross half way, and then wait in the middle to cross the other half of the street--but I digress).
Yesterday, I had two different encounters with angry Germans, within less than 24 hours of each other because I was not following the "wait until the light is green" rule. The first a child, no more than 7 or 8 years old, who sounded like I had just stolen his Kinder Surprise egg and whined a loud "NEEEeeiiiiN!!!!" when I stepped into the street to cross. Later an old man, with eyebrows raised and a smug, self-righteous voice turned to me and said (this was at another crossing) "Wir müssen ein bisschein warten, oder?" (We must wait a little, or?) After his beady eyes penetrated my head, his eybrows came down and he turned to a friend and continued to talk.
In theory, both the young and the old man were in the right--but I just cannot imagine someone scolding me in NJ or NY for crossing the street when the light is red. I tried to recall in my 22 years living in the US something like that happening, but I couldn't think of a single instance.