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24/7/365: It’s more than a trendy phrase

By MIMI BECKER

Coffee With Mimi

In a regular year, there are 365 days evenly distributed between seven days of the week. We do get a bonus once every four years with a leap day. This is the year for our extra day. Since Roman times, we have organized our 365/366 days into 12 units we call months.These months are of varying lengths. Scientists, and the rotation of the moon, determined there are 13 months.  These months have four weeks. A week has seven days. That’s 52 weeks. 52 weeks would equate to 364 days. Someone owes us some days.

At some point in history, for the record, it was the 6th C. BC and the culprits were the Babylonians and their basis for the calculation was, wait for it, the moon phases, we built our calendars on the seven day week. Various cultures for various reasons further divided the calendar into the week and the weekend. There are five days in the week and two days on the weekend.

Aside from agrarian based economies, a good bit of our world operates on the same five days on and two days off cycle. School children moan on Monday morning and have an extra hop in their skip on Fridays. Government offices, many businesses and the Stock Market ramp up about 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. News programs staff with top tier talent front and center Monday through Friday and the wannabes on what is left. Even in this cyber connected world, most transfers of funds, mail and banking are based on business days which count Monday through Friday. Historically, If you forgot to stock up on bread and milk by Friday afternoon, Sunday breakfast could be a challenge.

Weekends are special. Family gatherings, social outings, volunteer projects, fun runs, yard upgrades, cookouts. Work for five days, play for two days. Monday mornings begin with co-workers chatting about the weekend over coffee. No one gathers around the watercooler anymore, everyone has their own water bottle. This little story doesn’t even factor in the concept of summer vacation. Ah, summer vacation, that magic week sometime between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Workers put in for the treasured time off weeks in advance.  

Times, they are a changin. The evolution has a name: 24/7/365.  

I get it, we are part of a great big world. People and businesses on the other side of it are not even on the same day as our continent during part of the 24 hours, and vice versa. Fans of international tennis must recalibrate for the Australian Open. It can be viewed in real time. In days gone by, if you cared, you grabbed the morning paper the following day or hoped some TV station had a spare few minutes to pull it off network footage.

The thing is, we are hooked on this constant availability of anything and everything. In the big timeline of history, it took no time at all. There are no boundaries between day and night, week and weekend, this month and next month. It’s a good thing.

Opportunities abound. Things we need, or want, are available 24/7/365. At the last minute on a pretty Saturday afternoon, we can take a drive into the country with a picnic lunch. No need to think ahead to fill up the gas tank or gather fried chicken makings ahead of time.  

But, you know, what allows one person unlimited possibilities for a treasured Monday through Friday work week existence comes at the expense of someone else. My little trip to the fabric store on Saturday or Sunday for casual browsing assumes there is a friendly clerk on duty to answer my random questions. He, or she, clearly is not on a Monday to Friday schedule. The fun activities scheduled on weekends are not available for the restaurant cook prepping for Saturday dinner which is making my whimsical day off complete.

It’s just the way it is. If you want a job, you take what is available. Some services and businesses have always been 24/7/365. Some were necessities, hospitals and the like. Some accommodate our fun, like restaurants. They serve a purpose. Actually, more than one.  

When I was in college, I did a stint as a hotel desk clerk on the weekend second shift. It fit my class schedule. It was crummy for my social life, but I stayed on top of my homework. When I was a young teacher, I was a lifeguard at a 24/7/365 health club on the weekend third shift. A totally crummy job for my social life, but I graded a lot of papers.

24/7/365 is more than a trendy phrase. The concept offers choices for a variety of circumstances. Sometimes, though, I catch myself being annoyed when I think I must shop on a particular day at a particular time. I have five other days with 60 other hours and I can’t find one to suit me which suits them? Not all weekends are the same, but everyone should have one.