“anxiety is the dizziness of freedom”
― søren kierkegaard
This is, I hope, my final post in my Brussels Lockdown series.
An uneasy peace has returned to the streets this weekend. In comparison with last week, the streets were busier, but not as one might expect at this time of the year.
A notable exception being the long long queues outside Primark which I recall from last year. Is it possible that some people have been living here on the street, camping out all year, in the hope of that one bargain in the sale?
In contrast, many of the other shops were quieter than usual, some of the entrances to the City2 shopping centre were closed off, and taped up, to allow the guards to more diligently screen those wishing to shop within.
Or perhaps, as in this case, to practice their dance moves?
Soldiers patrolled the mall, and the approaches to, and platforms of, the metro.
Scanners, such as those used at the airport were deployed. Liquids were not banned and their appeared to be no Fastrack for frequent flyers or those with other reasons to feel privileged, no, here, today, we were all alike. In fact, we were (treated) like cattle.
The soldiers seemed more relaxed this week. Except when I pointed my Nikon in their direction, when some, fearing exposure, would pull their scarves up over their face and turn away. But unlike the other day, not once was I challenged and asked to delete anything. I had a minor scare when taking my camera out of my bag, and taking off the lens cap, made a loud metallic noise, not unlike a weapon being primed (I imagined, I wouldn’t know), which made people look around in fear. Thankfully the soldiers knew better. Their training helping their undoubted anxiety.
I walked down the escalator to the Metro, a young heavily armed soldier by my side, I smiled, he smiled back. We looked away. What is there to say?
And so, the peace filters back on to the streets.
And I am left wondering.