A news item on the radio: Everywhere in the city it gets a little more busy every day, but people avoid small streets. Do people really think the chances of catching a virus are bigger in a narrow street than a wide one? Apparently so.
I needed to check it out and went to my favorite narrow street of all, the first street that I walked down as a married man, back in 2012. We had just left the city hall and were on our way to the cozy place where we would drink champagne. We were holding hands. So did many of our guests, people from different places in the world, straight, gay or representing whatever other letter of the lgbtq-alphabet. No one of us maintained a distance of one and a half meter and everyone was happy. The good old days.
Today I came back to that street. It was empty indeed, like the news item on the radio said. I could buy a ridiculously big ice cream, without any feelings of shame or guilt, because no one would see me; the ice cream parlour was empty. I could get a tattoo! No one was inside the tattoo studio. Would I dare to? I could also extend our rubber duckies collection at the Duck Store. Big duckie eyes were looking at me from behind the display window. Who would I take home, Donald Trump, Sergeant Pepper?
While I moved up and down the street, no one else was in the Staalstraat. After a few minutes I left again. People avoid small streets, but I had just been in the safest street I could imagine.