I’m a punctual person. I admit I don't like waiting around for someone who’s habitually late (i.e. my dad). I respect time. So I enjoyed this article about the Swiss and their culture of time-sensitivity.
Of course, Switzerland is famous for its watches and clocks. In fact, the Swiss have been known as the makers of fine timepieces for more than five hundred years. But their obsession with time is about more than just making instruments to measure it. It’s also reflected in their punctual and efficient culture.
As the article explains, tardiness in Switzerland is generally frowned upon. That’s especially true in the business world. At the workplace, lunch and coffee breaks are usually precisely set, and the work day begins and ends regularly at 8am and 5:30. And then there’s public transportation. Trains and buses are always on time, arriving exactly on schedule, to the minute. That’s something I can get behind.
Of course, time as we know it (the hours, minutes, seconds of the day) is just something humans made up so we could meet each other for coffee and run civilizations smoothly. I think it’s interesting that in Switzerland, this country of time specialists, you can go to the top of a giant Alpine mountain and look out at the view and not think about time at all. Or, if you do think about it, it’s about the billions of years it took the planet to make these mountains, not the seconds until the bus arrives.
Anyway, if you’re going to Switzerland—as many EF College Break trips do—pay attention to the time. Try not to be late. Maybe even buy a watch.
Photo: jwinfred via Flickr