Read an Excerpt: Adultery by Paulo Coelho
The president of the country changes every year (yes, every year) and is chosen not by the people, but by the Federal Council, a body comprising seven ministers who serve as Switzerland's collective head of state. Every time I walk past the museum, I see endless posters calling for more plebiscites.
The Swiss love to make decisions—the color of our trash bags (black came out on top), the right (or not) to carry arms (Switzerland has one of the highest gun-ownership rates in the world), the number of minarets that can be built in the country (four), and whether or not to provide asylum for expatriates (I haven't kept pace with this one, but I imagine the law was approved and is already in force).
'Excuse me, sir.'
We've been interrupted once already. He politely asks his assistant to postpone his next appointment. My newspaper is the most important in French-speaking Switzerland and this interview could prove crucial for the upcoming elections.
He pretends to convince me and I pretend to believe him.
Then I get up, thank him, and say that I have all the material I need.
'You don't need anything else?' Of course I do, but it's not up to me to tell him what. 'How about getting together after work?' I explain that I have to pick up my children from school, hoping that he sees the large gold wedding ring on my finger declaring: 'Look, the past is the past.'
'Of course. Well, maybe we can have lunch someday.'