Thursday, 20 December 2007

In a hurry

Visitors often are surprised by seeing the Finnish pedestrians docilely standing waiting for the red light to switch to green and go mode, even with no cars driving past the Finns still patiently wait.

I am not sure whether the Finns are just that law obedient, or if they just fall asleep when waiting. In many other countries, including the neighbouring ones, but especially further southwards in the Europe there is a tendency to just cross the street when no cars are coming when ever possible. But now it seems to be the season for jaywalking in Finland, these few days just before Xmas and no matter what city you are in the same go everywhere it seems.

Pedestrians crossing the busiest, most trafficked street in town on red, inpatient to wait for it to switch into green and the busiest and most stressed ones are the most dangerous and daring ones. They just cross the street anywhere not even bothering about the zebra crossings and right when they are in the middle of the street there comes either a car in high speed or a bus that has to avoid running over the daring pedestrians. Sometimes it looks like pigeons running over the street. These people putting their limb and health in danger are both men and women, and no difference in sexes here apparently. They are not the young ones as one would normally assume neither are they the teenagers, instead they are the normal, average middle aged citizens.

Women in their forties with their fur coats, hands full of shopping bags scurrying across the street. Men rushing in suits on their lunch breaks to get something done before time runs out, even older grandmothers slowly walking in the middle of the street waiving their walking sticks. Then there of course always is the odd “normal ones” trying to make a short cup to the liquor shop, if you get my drift.

This strange and rarely occurring phenomenon of Finns jaywalking is best observed when on foot, and not from a car passing by. The Finns somehow seem to be in heat now before Xmas, they do not have their normal patience with waiting and queuing, shifting foot, sighing and restlessness even at the cash automate waiting for your turn to withdraw some money to buy presents with.

People are so very much more inpatient than normal right now and we are here talking winter time when things tend to be more slow and tedious in every way with the prevailing lack of light. The normal pace is completely opposite to the spring out coming of all the beautiful summer butterflies shedding their winter cocoons of multilayered warm clothing and dressing colourful and light, even with the weather not agreeing on it.

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