A couple of friends are coming over for lunch today, and we decided we’d rather take them to one of our favorite spots (the Pozsonyi Kisvendéglo, above) instead of adding to our pile of leftovers in the refrigerator. It’s a great place — the name translates as “Pozsonyi Little Tavern” — with an inspired kitchen that belies the cozy, pubby atmosphere, and we’re not the only people who’ve noticed. It’s always busy, and on a previous visit we noticed several tables with “reserved” cards on them, so we decided to make a reservation ourselves this time.

I went in and asked one of the helpful staff if I could make a reservation. In her halting English — which I need not mention is light years ahead of my pathetic Magyar — she asked what time and how many. When I told her, there was a bit of a pained expression, and I thought, “Ruh roh, I’ve done something wrong here.” She then apologized, saying, “From 1:00 you can only have until 3:00, ok?”

We’ve been here long enough to understand cognitively the difference in attitudes and approaches to time between our culture and others, but my first reaction (internalized, thank goodness) was, “Why on earth would I need more than two hours here?”

I thanked her and assured her that the two hours would somehow suffice, and rushed out the door to tackle the next item on my to-do list.


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