Michaela Merz

Curfew with a special permit

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I enjoy my work and I work a lot. I think it’s fun! Incredibly fun in fact. To achieve something, to see that things that didn’t work at first, function smoothly thanks to my contribution is very satisfying.

It isn’t seldom for me to work for 12 hours straight. But I don’t perceive it as a nuisance or a source of stress, I see it as a basic need. I believe that humans are here and earn their place to be here by leaving something greater behind than what they were born into. My compensation then is a good night sleep.

About a year ago, I received a letter from the University of Zurich that the following evening there would be a party near my house and that there would be an exception to the curfew  I was angry, to put it short, I was to prepare myself for noise pollution in the middle of the week late at night. I didn’t find it funny. My calendar showed me that I would have to get up 5 a.m. and that there would be extremely long and demanding working days ahead of me.

I asked myself ‘What should I do? Should I go book a room at a hotel in a different district of the city? Will the university pay the bill?! I don’t think so. Or should I, as a minority, let myself be held back by the noise simply because I’m part of the minority and can’t really defend myself?

Should I drop my habit of sleeping with an open window, seal my ears with earplugs and risk overhearing my alarm clock?’

These are complaints of a high level. But why isn’t the party on a Friday or a Saturday when it would cause less of a nuisance? Is it because students don’t have time for this on the weekend?

I get, that there may be a generational conflict and I am sure that if I were still in my studies I would have taken their position. Today, with my working hours, every missed hour counts.

Why am I mentioning this nearly one-year-old story? It’s got to do with Donald Trump. His portrayal in the European news is very, very negative. But many of my American friends say that they will vote for him. They say that they are fed up with the fact that rules aren’t being followed, that written rules have lost their power and they don’t want that any more. They want peace and quiet for work and order. That is not to be confused with a call for a strong hand and obedience.

I value my American colleagues and friends very much and have quite a few of them. They’re very open for new things, don’t have any moral flaws, are very studious, honest and nice people. Before the first election I was astonished how vehemently they supported Trump and how decisively they had his back.

I don’t think that my knowledge and experience is sufficient to make a judgement over the elections. It also isn’t in my interest. I just noticed that very educated people with perspective in the US support Donald Trump. They just aren’t brave enough to say it out loud in Europe to not be bullied. Which probably says a lot about Europe. What they are looking for is that obedience to the rules and laws, which partially seems to have been lost in the USA is put in place again. The future will show whether this will be exception or the norm.

I have to say that without strictly followed rules, living together would not be possible. Nonsensical rules drive me mad, but rules in general I wouldn’t want to miss. Without rules there would be no time for work, creativity, nothing at all because every time rules would have to be negotiated over and over again. Driving would probably be deadly in such a scenario.

Let’s be tolerant but let’s follow the commonly agreed rules and let’s not abuse them. Not even with a special permit.

Image source: unsplash.com

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