As I left Subway yesterday, I walked past the door to a local Chinese Restaurant and on the door a handwritten sign was posted saying "We Close July 4" and I have been stuck on this ever since.
Having spoken to and been around a number of non-native English speakers, I am accustomed to them not having mastered the correct tense of verbs and I am not mocking this. Heck, I have high schools who are only native English speakers who struggle with this concept. But I began trying to interpret what the meaning behind this sign. Should it say "We will be closed on July 4" or "We will close July 4"? I interpret the first option to be a one day closing, while the other is a permanent closing. This is a very crucial difference for the loyal customers of the Chinese restaurant, of which I am not one (I don't even know what the name is to be honest with you). I have never given this restaurant any thought and it has been of no importance to me, until now. I am anxious to see what happens with it's business status after July 4th. The problem is that July 5 is a Sunday and they may be closed on Sundays normally. So wait until Monday to find out, but some places open on Saturdays usually take Mondays off. Okay, what about Tuesday! What if the sign implies a vacation break for the owners of Chinese Restaurant.
I then shifted my attention to a foreign restaurant being closed on July 4 and it struck me as being rather interesting. There are 2 reasons that I can fathom for a Chinese Restaurant to be closes on July 4th.
1. To celebrate the USA's Independence Day
2. Not many, if any, people go to Chinese restaurants on an American holiday, so why be open.
Let's examine these, starting with number 1. Some people may mock or find humor in a Chinese restaurant, run presumably by first or second generation immigrants being closed to celebrate "our" (notice the American-biased use of quotation marks) Independence Day. Keep in mind that I have never been inside this place and I am jumping to a big assumption here. It could be run by Bob Jones and his family for all I know. First of all, they are citizens of this country (another assumption) and as a result they have the right to celebrate it's Independence Day. If you know somebody that has a problem with this, then ask them why they are celebrating Cinco de Mayo, St. Patrick's Day, or Casimir Pulaski Day (Illinoisians specifically for the last one) and what each of those days even represent. Side notes: Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico's Independence Day and not as big a deal in Mexico as it is here. St. Patrick's Day celebrations started in the US, and until the 1970s, pubs in Ireland were closed by law on that day. In addition, 1st and 2nd generation immigrants have an amazingly high right to celebrate Independence Day because their actions are closed to what the Founding Fathers did than anything that I have ever done. In each case people wanted out of the country they were currently living in to go to a hipper country (I am a history teacher and "hipper country" is historically appropriate).
As for number 2 (Not much business, in case you forgot), I can't imagine that people are so wrapped in American excitement that they feel the urge to rush out buy crab rangoon. Again, I am leaping to a big assumption here and maybe Americans feel compelled to get pumped to see things blowing up in the sky by capping off a meal with a good ole fashioned fortune cookie. Yet another "cultural" item that is not native to the country we associate it with but rather an item we (created in California) made up and gave to them.