as complement to the entry « Shadows », there is another aspect of most restaurants here — that is, good restaurants but not in the sense of Michelin-rated haut cuisine, where the tables are fairly close together in contrast to what is often seen, or considered, comfortable in most cities. Yogi Berra's quip that "it is so crowded, no one goes there anymore" would suit this kind of place, with barely a gap between tables in the entire restuarant. yet, for me, there is great allure to such arrangements, whereby one can sense the enthusiasm of lunch, not to complete a routine of necessity, or seek refuge from work, but to immerse into the life of others. even the body language is quite different as people will comfortably contort their bodies to better engage with their company. the major, subjective, impression is that sitting so close to other parties doing the same, is that there is a bit of acknowledgment that there are others nearby: it is a clan of strangers having lunch, and not about seemingly providing a (false?) sense of privacy by ignoring the other parties.
it may be said that we are unique like snowflakes — which turns out to not be quite unique, and very fractal — and that is sensible to approach other people as unique, in that being much better than an approach based on stereotype. however, the surroundings and situations would say that it is all too familiar, and consequently, the snowflake is going to trigger some memories in my past. that was the experience in visiting this couple from Serbia and Croatia (though 50+ years ago, when they left for France), I was transported in spirit of conversation and atmosphere — its essence, not its particulars — to when I was a kid and visiting relatives in the countryside. and therein lies one of the magics of multiculturalism: triggering a childhood memory from the yet-to-be-known people of other culture that have a big overlap, even with a very insular culture.