Does a perfect wood stack make you anal retentive – or just Swiss?

IMG_0056   My favourite woodstack. 10/10. Just love the symmetry and harmony of all the round bits of wood. Love it. And with the flowers on top…nice touch..sigh!

Having lived in Switzerland for most summers for half of my life (I only do summers year round) I have seen many an amazingly perfect wood stack.  Obviously somewhere along the line, stacking wood in Switzerland became such an art form that people no longer used the wood for their fires, but preferred to leave the stack in tact for all and sundry to admire.

Before I continue, I want to say that in Switzerland I enjoy a very high standard of living – it is clean, efficient, has amazing scenery and is very safe. Nothing bad ever really happens here. And if it does, we don’t hear about it so that we can continue to live in undisturbed bliss. It’s a good system. However, as a laid-back Kiwi, there is one Swiss trait that I do struggle with:  anal retention.

IMG_0037So perfect ya just don’t wanna burn it. I don’t think any wood stack in the entire country gets any less than a 7/10. It’s so disturbingly perfect, I can imagine an anarchist or an Auslander (foreigner) wanting to push it over, just to bring back a bit of chaos into the universe.

Nothing symbolises a Swiss’ anal retention more than their wood stacks. Their wood stacks are just so perfect, it looks like they have got a degree in wood-stacking. Thus I want to prove that there is a correlation between Swiss wood stacks and their obsessive “anality”! 🙂 Check out the photos as proof.

According to Wikipedia: “The term anal retentive (also anally retentive), commonly abbreviated to anal,[1] is used to describe a person who pays such attention to detail that the obsession becomes an annoyance to others, potentially to the detriment of the anal-retentive person. The term derives from Freudian psychoanalysis.”

IMG_0033This is a pretty tight stack considering the different shaped wood! 9/10! Well done. (Trying not to be annoyed by its perfection…)

Then I googled “Swiss anal retention” and found this: “I might offend some people here, but I find the Swiss extremely anal retentive. During a visit to Lucerne, we went to a pizza place. The cashier there yelled at us for taking the hot sauce bottle to the table INSIDE her restaurant. Apparently, we are only allowed to bring our pizza to the condiments table and put some sauce there, then put the hot sauce bottle on the EXACT same spot where we got it from. The way she yelled we thought we forgot to pay or did something very serious like we were stealing her hot sauce away from the restaurant”.

IMG_0055Check this one out – a wood stack around a shop doorframe! How Swiss. Pretty boring if you ask me.

Myself and my foreign friends get yelled at all the time for making innocent mistakes. I was recently interviewed by someone writing a guide book about Switzerland. I was asked the following and replied:

“Is there anything tourists do that locals find rude or strange?” If you do anything rude or strange here, locals will yell at you. They won’t politely ask you not to do it.  Just be thankful you don’t understand Swiss. As there are so many rules here in Switzerland, you are bound to be breaking a rule at some stage. Just don’t worry about it.

IMG_0053Two sides of this shed are wood stack. Do you know how many hours of work that is? Do you know the mental and physical pain this must have caused? 10/10.

Conclusion:  I couldn’t stack 100 cans of baked beans nicely, let alone a pile of odd-shaped pieces of wood – so I could never be Swiss. I am not saying it is bad to be anal retentive (however I am glad not to be!!), but it is a Swiss trait, and it is what makes Switzerland what it is.  I think if you want to test someone for their Swissness, give them a pile of wood and let them go for it. Or if you want to be able to apply for a Swiss passport, you should be able to stack a pile of wood perfectly as part of the application.
As for me…I prefer to just burn my wood in winter and keep warm. Oh, that’s right, I don’t do winter! 🙂
IMG_0039A single wall stack with a window and smelly geraniums for a splash of colour. Looks good though.

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