Square of Shame

Smoking in Germany has been decreasing over the last several years. At first the regulations just prohibited smoking in government buildings Next came restrictions prohibiting smoking in all indoor spaces. Finally the regulations are now coming on line for many outdoor locations.

This leads to some rather interesting phenomena. On the train platforms there are clearly posted smoking areas, delineated by paint on the pavement. Unlike in former times where smokers seemed to chat, the squared off area seems to resemble the average public restroom. Like men at urinals, the smokers are spaced out along the marked square staring out at nothing and avoiding eye contact with any of their fellow passengers, smokers or not. The yellow paint effectively fences them in, creating a barrier between them and the rest of the platform.

The rest us, with our high minded certainty of rightness stride past with noses in the air, glad that we are no longer forced to be caged with smokers.


Since I had splurged on the ticket, I was able to sit comfortably and knit all the way to M√ľnchen. With my 1st Class Bahn card, the cost of the round trip ticket is less than the regular price of second class. Of course, if I was being true to my cheap roots I would have traveled in 2nd class at half the normal fare. I don’t order coffee or snacks delivered to my seat, but I made good progress on my cowl.

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