Thursday, August 19, 2004

half a socket

I don't know how quite to describe the joy (except that I know that "joy" is the precise word) that I feel speaking another language with someone. I feel like I can stretch out with other languages-- I can be a person that I can't be in English. Or maybe it's something uglier: maybe it's the vanity and exclusivity that I feel at having learned to communicate in another language. I hope not. I hope that I'm revelling in something loftier.

Tonight: A, from Italy. M, from Ecuador. And M.N., from Switzerland. We all met at a kert, called Mumus on Kisdiofa utca. Literally kert means garden, but in Budapest this means an apartment house courtyard that's doubling as a bar for the warm months of May through September. They are the loveliest of places. Mumus is designated from the exterior by a spray of grafitti. On the interior a gravel-floored courtyard houses a bar and an assortment of 60's armchairs and sofas.

I hadn't seen A for weeks, as he'd dropped out of our Hungarian language class. He speaks such lovely, clear, proper Italian that I can't help being swept up in the illusion that I must understand Italian very well. Until M.N. arrived, A. and I spoke Italian, while M. spoke Spanish. Amazing to me how this worked. Then M.N. came in and he speaks French, which everyone also speaks. All through the night, we had this fantastic chatter of Italian, Spanish, French, salt-and-peppered with English and Hungarian.

We went for dinner to an Italian restaurant called Aetna near Keleti palyaudvar that A. frequents. We walked in, without A. as he had to do something at his flat first, and the Hungarian hostess told us that there were no tables available. She said it could be up to an hour. So we accepted the situation (as there seemed no alternative), and humbly walked back outside onto the sidewalk. But M. from Ecuador said "No, let me see," and the next thing I know we were seated at a table in the back. M. says that she experiences this whenever she tries to do something in Hungary. She's always told that they can't do it, or there's nothing available, and that she is accustomed to simply insisting. She also says that she does not like "Hungarian woman," for this reason, though not this reason alone. So M has inspired me to become a pushy broad. No more letting little old Hungarian ladies push their way to the front of the queue.

M.N. told us one of the funniest stories I've ever heard. I'm not throwing around superlatives simply because I've had a few beers and some limoncello: I think I inadvertently drooled on my shirt a little bit because I was laughing so hard. Maybe it was also the very reserved manner that M.N., being Swiss, uses when he tells anything. He told me in his staid Swiss voice that once he was in Zurich eating at quite a chic and expensive Asian restaurant when he discovered something in his soup. There was "half a socket," as he called it. Or half of the plastic wall plate which covers an electrical socket. I don't need to embellish this story with any clever asides, do I? It stands on its own?

Tired now. I have a big day of scouring the markets tommorrow. I'm making brunch on Sunday, and tommorrow (Thursday) is the last day before Sunday that everything will be open, as Friday is a national holiday. Will go to sleep with crossed fingers that I might find some maple syrup in this city.


At 7:38 PM, Blogger David Ryan Kennerly said...

Me likey bloggy.


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