I stopped at Rob’s Garage today – it’s a short walk from where I live – to ask about having my winter tires swapped out for my summer tires.
And yes, of course, in case you were wondering, it’s the law.
From what I’ve been told, it’s best not to be caught in the winter with summer tires. On the other hand, no one cares if you use your winter tires in the summer, though they may think you’re nutty, which must happen often with all of the expats who are driving around.
From the outside, Rob’s Garage looks like most garages you might see in the U.S. – well, in the nicer neighborhoods – but you can’t disguise the fact that this is a car repair business.
I had walked the dog by Rob’s Garage many times already, but I had never stopped. And so, with April coming to an end, I thought it was time to introduce myself to Rob (or someone inside) and acquaint him with my new vehicle – the “slightly older” Volvo station wagon, with the color of a deep thigh bruise, that I mentioned in an earlier post.
By the way, I hold my breath whenever I blog about Swiss culture, because I worry that I may offend someone. A couple of people didn’t like my “in the land of cheese, there is no cheddar” comment, for example.
But this story is too good not to tell, and it tells the story about this new culture about as well as any.
Inside I stood at the counter and asked about scheduling an appointment (in my worst German and Rob’s equally atrocious English), and to the left of Rob as we were chatting I spotted an enormous wine chiller. I mean, it was huge. I’ve never seen anything quite like it, and – get this – it was filled with very expensive-looking bottles of wine.
For customers, I wondered?
And next to the wine chiller was an espresso machine which I’m pretty sure I could not afford – not in this life or the next. I made my tire appointment for early in the morning next week and plan to have a cup of Rob’s famous espresso, but I’m thinking that my next appointment (with that car you just know there will be another) should be late in the day.
And I imagine Rob calling out, “Pfarrer (that’s “pastor” around here), help yourself to a bottle! The Pinot Noir is nice! The cork screw is next to the espresso machine!”
And I’ll be thinking, “What a country!”
(Photo: I don’t see the wine chiller next to the counter. Maybe it’s a recent addition. Whenever it was added, it won over my business on the first visit.)