Sobremesa: The Art of an Intimate Meal

I enjoy to learn new words in other languages when there is not a word in the English language to describe. Sobremesa is a word to describe a Spanish tradition of relaxing at the table after a heavy meal. Beginning after dessert is provided, it usually last an hour or half an hour. During long Summers and holidays, the time spent tends to last longer.

I love meeting, talking, and intimate conversations over and after a meal. A meal could be excellent but if the conversation is distant and the company is hurried, I feel as if I wasted my time. Yet, if the meal is mediocre and the conversation is rich and warm, the meal in my memory can last a lifetime.

Until I learned the notion of sobremesa, I always thought I was different. I talked too much or I was wasting other’s time. I enjoyed meals abroad because everyone appears to enjoy the company of people over the meal.

In our traditional American society, time is well, time. Time pushes. Clocks press us. Obligations bind us. Go. Go. Go. Run. Run. Run. Fast. Fast. Fast. That is the name of the game.

Pushy servers.

Terrible tippers.

Thirty minute meals.

One hour lunch breaks.

Drive thru windows.

Curbside Services.

Has it costed us special moments to enjoy the lives of one another? Has it played an expensive part of our friendships and relationships? How much has time robbed us of deep, meaningful time with others eventually robbing us of knowledge, feeling love, feel appreciated, or the like?

I define intimacy as “into me you see.” When we hustle, we can not stop to see the inside of one another. Time does not allow us the moment to value the delicate, beautiful intricate elements of one another. It is always harder to capture the qualities of a beautiful car going 100 mph down the highway.

Maybe in the new America (the one after the COVID pandemic), we can slow down a little more. We can enjoy one another. We can laugh, cry, and converse with one another without the need to look at watches, glance at a clock, or check the time on the phone. If time is money, how expensive has it been for us to squander profound moments?

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