A mountain commute

So what does my commute look like in the Swiss Alps?

After a typical routine that begins at 6:30 a.m. and that includes feeding the birds, the dog, the children, and trying to remember each piece of ski equipment needed at school that day, I usually have to scrape ice from the inside and outside of my car's windshield and windows. And that's after having to shovel it out from under a few meters of snow. At around 8:10, the children have climbed into the car and the house's front door has been locked, we depart, heading down our icy, snowing driveway, and steep, one-lane road that is more than often coated with ice.

At 8:17, we arrive in the neighboring village, the kids jump out of the car, and after saying "bye mom", they head off carrying their school bags and ski gear. I turn around and head to the next village, where I usually park in spot number 59 in the underground parking. I insert four francs forty in the central meter, then head out onto the Promenade. It's a chilly yet peaceful walk. The luxury shops will not open for another half an hour or more. The farmer wives set up their food stands, while a portly dark-haired waiter wipes off cafĂ© tables and puts out ashtrays. A lawyer in a long dark overcoat and round spectacles walks in the other direction, and a street worker in orange reflective rain gear uses a long-handled stick to pick up garbage. Further up, another worker wearing a wide black brimmed hat scrapes ice on the road to free up a street drain.

When I finally sit down in front of my three oversized computer screens, I feel refreshed and ready for the morning's work. I could be anywhere... New York... San Francisco...

After four hours, it's lunch time. I put on my coat and return to Swiss village life. A banker and his girlfriend sun themselves on a bench, smoking cigarettes, smiling, and nodding as I pass by. There are tourists milling about, strolling in and out of boutiques, and the farmers wives are busy selling their bread, cheese, and cookies, and fresh vegetables in summer.

I stop to buy some cookies.

"Wie geht's Diana?" asks Erika, one of the farmer's wives.

"Gut, danke und Dir?" I respond. Meanwhile, a banker I've seen before collects change that Erika is handing him. He counts it. I make a joke about bankers counting money and ending up with more money than they started with. He doesn't laugh, but smiles and heads into the bank. I feel guilty for teasing him. UBS is going through a hard time.

After paying for my cookies and extending greetings to Erika's husband (a mountain guide and one of my father's friends), I find my car free of ice and head back to my house in the mountains, where my little dog will greet me with much happiness.

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