Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A Price On My Head...

...in Switzerland. Apparently the Swiss have been searching for me since April 4, 2007, and after a worldwide manhunt, they're closing in on me.

It's scary. I've seen those guys who guard the Pope. If you added some white makeup and round red noses, you'd have clowns, and there's nothing scarier than clowns (not even animal-human hybrids).

Actually, the police and army in Switzerland may not dress like they do at the Vatican. I'm not sure, because I didn't see any police or military folks the whole time we were in the country. The Swiss are an orderly lot, and if one of them commits a crime, they make sure they inform the authorities in advance, who then issue an appointment time for them to turn themselves in.

In rare cases they may have a car chase, but they issue a permit first, and no one exceeds the speed limit. It's quite an efficient system, really--though, as anyone who watched the OJ car chase can testify, a medium-speed car chase doesn't make for gripping drama.

Since I don't speak German, my understanding of my crime is a little hazy. The gist of it seems to be that on April 24, 2007, I was operating my Personenwagen at 17:06 Uhr. The Ubertretungsort was the Tunnel Arisdorf, Bergspur. After a series of data points, they come to the bottom line:

Geschwindigkeitsuberschreitung: 6 km/hr.

Which I'm guessing means exceeding the speed limit by 6 km/hr, which is about 3.5 miles per hour. Since I go faster than 3.5 miles/hour when I walk, it seems like the kind of number that would be laughed off. Here in California, we're more approximate: "70 miles/hr" pretty much means any speed from 61 miles/hr to 79 miles/hr. We're easygoing; we have concepts like "kind of married." But I guess the Swiss are a bit more precise about such things.

Okay, busted. Mea effing culpa. And I will pay them their Euro 37.57...as soon as I can figure how to do it. (Their little form is in German, too.)

But pay it I will; I have no desire to serve time in Switzerland. I mean, if they dress the Swiss Guard like that, imagine how they dress Swiss Prisoners...

8 comments:

Aliya Whiteley said...

We got camera flashed whilst mistakenly speeding through the centre of Munich in 2005. I'm expecting Interpol to arrive at any moment.

Janet said...

LOL! I shall learn from your mistake. And it sounds like you're doing a good job deciphering the German. If anything has you stumped, let me know. I used to speak German...

Tim Stretton said...

6km is the approximate length of the word Geschwindigkeitsuberschreitung, and an hour is how long it takes to read it. (I imagine it would take several days to pronounce).

I love the German method of neologisation where you just tack two words together, and then another couple on top of that. I'm not sure whether the Germans never discovered hyphens, or simply dismiss them as frivolity. How long does a word have to be in German before they decide to split it in two?

Euro 37.57 is a curiously exact penalty. No doubt there is a formula to weigh up the exact gravity of the offence. In Britain it's 60 quid and be done with it.

Alis said...

The Swiss can be a bit... well, Swiss. A Swiss friend of mine who lives in the UK will sometimes say, when pissed off with herself for being too pedantic 'Ach, too Swiss today!'

David Isaak said...

Hi, all.

To clear up the mystery of the Euro 37.57, the actual "Bussenbetrag" was 60 Swiss Francs, but they kindly converted it for me at the current "Devisenkurs" of 1.5972.

As for the hyphens, they do seem seem to have some, as I see "Vererhsuberwachungs-System" writen down here. So I guess the policy is to use them only when clearly unneeded.

Eliza Graham said...

I always knew you were a dangerous type, David...

David Thayer said...

You may be able to hedge your Euro exposure with a basket of subprime mortgages, dollar yen swaps or collateralized debt obligations. Or you could pay the fine.

Anonymous said...

I am looking at a Verkehrsubertretung as I write. At the bottom is a payment form of sorts. Do I need to put any information on it besides my signature? There are no numbers in the Kontoinhaber/Einzahler line, nor the Konto-Nr. des Kontoinhabers line. They might be some sort of bank transfer info... Lou Pohlenz