19 mei: Coronisch Tijdperk VI – AANRAKEN

19 mei: Coronisch Tijdperk VI – AANRAKEN

Mijn handen en de OR (Openbare Ruimte). Daar is iets wezenlijks in veranderd. De onschuld is eraf. Net als bij niezen en kuchen. Dat is in feite ‘not done’ geworden in de OR. Na een publieke nies, volgt een schaamtevolle blik, excuserend. Niet alleen bij mij, ik zie het ook bij anderen. Ik voel medeleven als een OR-niezer zich ineens manifesteert. Ik knik dan heel bemoedigend. Of ik roep: ‘Geeft Niks’. Kuchen is helemaal uit den boze. Alsof Het Kwaad dan even zichtbaar zou worden gemaakt.
Van al mijn niesjes en kuchjes ben ik me tegenwoordig bewust, zo niet overbewust. Ik vang een nies (toch een momentje van controleloosheid) helemaal op volgens het protocol, een soort ‘Corona-dab’. Ja, complimenten aan mijn (keurs)lijf. Maar mijn handen… Niet dat ze niet luisteren. Maar dat ze niets buiten mij om doen, daarvoor durf ik ze niet in het vuur te steken.

Laatst nog: ik wacht in de snacksalon (zo heet de snackbar tegenwoordig in de chique Watergraafsmeer) op een afhaalbestelling. Ik lees daar, de tijd dodende, de krant van de leestafel. Ik zie de krant – het Parool  –  en denk aan andere handen die deze krant ook hebben gepakt. Dan neem ik bewust het besluit: Ik pak de krant. Alles onder controle. Niks aan de hand.
Tot ik de pagina wil omslaan. Dat lukt niet. Ook niet met mijn (afgekloven) nagels. En dan gebeurt het: Als vanzelf gaat mijn linker wijsvinger naar mijn mond, wijken mijn lippen opzij, verschijnt de tong – heel even maar – en in één vloeiende beweging vliegt de vinger door naar het hoekje van de bladzij. De pagina kleeft aan mijn vinger. Hij is verlost. Dan pas schiet het door me heen: WAT DOE IK?
Ik denk: Is dit het begin van mijn einde?
Ik denk: Is dit het begin van iemand anders’ einde?
Ik denk: Doe normaal!
Ik denk: Heeft iemand mij gezien?
De snelheid van menselijk denken, is dat wel eens gemeten? Volgens mij kunnen daar geen ééntjes en nulletjes tegenop. Maar zo snel als gedachtes komen, verdwijnen ze weer. Alleen het daaruit voortvloeiende gevoel: angst – boosheid – schaamte, blijft hangen. Als een stinkende scheet.

De dag erna loop ik hard. Ik loop over het dijkje bij de Valentijnkade. Graspluimen reiken tot heup- ja zelfs schouderhoogte (ik ben niet zo groot). Het verlangen komt op als poepen: Aanraken. Die wuivende halmen aanraken. Tegelijkertijd denk ik (kun je meerdere gedachtes tegelijk hebben? Of krijgen de neuronen dan kortsluiting?): “Als iedereen dit gaat doen….” Ik smijt het overboord, deze eruptie van het ‘gezonde’ verstand. En ik besluit. Met een flink overbewustzijn raak ik ze aan: Hallo sprietjes, high five! De hele dijk lang zit ik aan de grassprietjes. Ook als fietsers me passeren, wandelaars. Ik voel me baldadig. Het braafste meisje uit de klas wreekt zich. Kijk, zij voelt ze, zij betast ze, zij eigent ze zich toe. Vrijheid.

Ik ren door. Ik loop langs de vaart nu. Het Amsterdam-Rijnkanaal rechts, het Nieuwe Diep links. Ik zie zwanen met hun kroost, een loopster loopt langs mij in tegenstelde richting. Ik kijk, ik verstap me, ik struikel! En in dat moment van vallen, waarin mijn lijf met rare stuipen het evenwicht wil hervinden, voel ik weer de paniek, maar door andere gedachtes: “Wie gaat mij zo helpen? Straks kom ik niet meer overeind! Wie durft me nog aan te raken? Wie gaat me dan in godsnaam oprapen? Welke vreemde wil zijn of haar handen aan mij vuilmaken?”

Op miraculeuze wijze, val ik niet. Ik blijf op de been. Ik hol door. Geschrokken. Wat voel ik mij… ja hoe voel ik me? Zo heb ik me niet eerder gevoeld, op een lentedag in mei. Ondanks alle fietsers, scooters, hardlopers, hondenuitlaters om me heen, voel ik mij vreemd alleen. Wat als ik zonet gevallen was? Hard gevallen, hier in de openbare ruimte.  Was ik dan écht een soort ‘onaanraakbare’ geworden? Ik passeer vissers, ik zwaai overdreven naar ze. En zij naar mij.

Pas veel later besef ik dat ik daarvoor niet had hoeven vallen. In de openbare ruimte was ik toch allang een onaanraakbare geworden? En ik niet alleen. Nee, wij allemaal.

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