Tuesday, 16 December 2008


Identity is not only how we choose to see ourselves, it is also how others choose to see us.

Recently, while waiting for my bags at the bus station in Porto Alegre, I was, in the course of about ten minutes, three times approached by fellow passengers with questions regarding their bags. Why do they ask me? I wondered. How come they assume I work for the bus company? I mean, I do not even remotely look like a bus driver or a ticket controller. I know, I know, not all of them look the same. But still: I simply do not look like a bus driver. Brazilians seem to see this differently though. Some Brazilians that is. And so I thought about it. And suddenly I knew. It was because of my light-blue shirt and because of my dark-blue pants. Every bus driver in Southern Brazil wears this combination, and every ticket controller. And it is like that in Thailand (at least in Bangkok), and in Switzerland (at least in Zurich), and in ...

The combination black pants/white shirt can likewise be fatal. Not when travelling but when going to Italian restaurants. In a Pizzeria in Basel I tried to get the attention of the waiter who hurried once again past our table ("Hey, you, sorry, but could we please order !?" I shouted impatiently). "I'm a guest here", the guy retorted, not very pleased. I could easily see why: Contrary to the waiters who all sported some red flower bouquet around their neck he actually wore a black tie.

1 comment:

Kalina said...

ei, moco, a que horas sai o onibus que vai pra Bento Goncalves?
ei, moco!!!