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Glasses All Around, Por Favor


Remember I said I had houseguests? Well that means I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time lately – can you guess? Cleaning? Cooking? Sightseeing? No. Well, maybe sightseeing. But what I’ve really been doing lately is spending a lot of time ordering plates and glasses. At restaurants.
You see, and here’s a handy cultural note to file away for your next trip, casual Spanish restaurants don’t always give you one glass for the water and one glass for the wine, paired up nice and neat. They give you one glass and figure you’ll sort of drink some water and then maybe some wine and then some water and you’ll work it out somehow, and in any case they won’t have to wash an extra glass. And then for salads or some other appetizers shared by the table, they often won’t give you individual little plates for everyone, instead expecting diners to just cozily stick a fork in to the communal dish.
Well, I know this, and I know my visitors prefer American-style allotments of table accoutrements, so whenever we eat out (which is quite often, given my lack of natural ability to whip up anything but pasta for a dinner for a crowd in 15 minutes, and I’m sure there’s a website dedicated to just that topic but I am certainly not going to search for it), as I was saying, whenever we eat out I have a few moments of inner tension as I wait to see what accessories the waiter provides for our drinking and eating. The problem is, by asking for more glasses and such you’re defying a cultural norm, making what appears to the waiter as a somewhat odd request; and yet, it’s relatively little to ask for and it makes my visitors happy. So we make them happy.
Anyway, the guests are off touring another Spanish city on their own, and I’m curious as to how the glass/plate problem will work out, given their somewhat limited collective Spanish. Because really, why shouldn’t they enjoy their meal? They should. And then I was thinking, what if one of them gets separated from the group, and forgets the name of their hotel? And doesn’t have any European money? And I’m seriously wondering if I should have mentioned that there’s a U.S. consulate where they’re going, and told them how to say consulate in Spanish. And really, this is only a slight variation of what I worry about when Son the Elder goes on a field trip. But he’s five. And the visitors are one generation up from me. And have shown no signs of being unable to make their way back eventually to a hotel in a European city should the need arise, nor indeed any signs of gagahood all along, except maybe in whatever responsibility they hold in helping to turn out a daughter and niece who can’t whip up dinner for a crowd.
It must be just another one of those wacky treats of adulthood, along with the paying the rent or the mortgage and understanding the importance of flossing: worrying about your folks. Even if it’s irrational. Which of course has a table-turning fairness to it. And oh my, now that I’ve mentioned tables again…

Share  Posted by Deborah Klosky at 12:35 AM | Permalink

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