Monday, September 29, 2008

Open 7/7

Walk through Geneva and you'll see signs just like this one informing you that the place is "open 7/7":

24/7 I understand. But if you're only open 7 hours every day, is that something you want to advertise? I've asked several people what this means, and the conversation always goes like this:

Greg: What does "open 7/7" mean?

Swiss: It means they're open seven days.

Greg: But what about the other 7?

Swiss: What other seven?

Greg: There are two 7's. It says "open 7/7."

Swiss: Yes, because there are seven days of the week. They're open for all of them.

Greg: In English, we would say a place is open 24/7, meaning "24 hours a day, 7 days a week." Does this mean it's open 7 hours a day, 7 days of the week?

Swiss: No. Maybe they open at 9:00. Or 10:00. Maybe they close at 5:00 or 6:00. But they're open all seven days.

Greg: So why say "7/7?"

Swiss: I don't know. Maybe it's like saying, "open 7 days out of 7 days."

Greg: As opposed to the weeks that have 9 days in them?

Swiss: You know, I never thought about it. It is kind of weird.

I think it's interesting that it's so confusing to me, but so normal for the Swiss. It reminds me of my Indonesian friend in grad school who would ask me questions about America:

"What are the Amish? Are they a race?"
"Why is it pronounced Krispy Cream and not Krispy Kreme?"
"What is a Deadhead?"

I loved these questions because they made me realize how much of my own culture I mistakenly assumed was common knowledge. After I explained everything I knew about the lifestyle of Grateful Dead followers, he simply said, "Oh...Why would they want to do that?"

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