The Dutch have an expression which (translated) goes something like this: “When you get shaved (at the barber’s), you have to sit still.”
I suppose I have a bit of this now — the feeling of being shaved. And, well, I try to sit still accordingly.
The barber is shaving off my beard, is repeatedly putting his knife on my throat, sliding it gently, and he’s cheerfully having professional small-talk with me. I try not to move, because I don’t want him to make a mistake. It also gives me some time to think through the state of affairs and my “sins.”
Too much has happened in the past two years. The world seems to be in a continuous, anxious flux, and I wonder when this all ends. The Coronavirus pandemic, the war in Ukraine, the inflation, the renewed separation of the world in political, ideological blocks, the draughts and floods, the rise of autocratic, authoritarian, populist, nationalist and far-right regimes, well, it can’t really make a person very happy.
And although, on a more personal level, there’s some peace of mind now, that doesn’t mean that the outer movements have stopped. On the contrary. It seems there’s a new dynamic, one that urges me to change things, especially of what I’ve found to be true and authentic.
And thus I try to sit still, because I know a volcano is brooding, smothering, is actually about to explode right there under my buttocks. I try to sit still, and I try to get to the bottom of this. To think things through thoroughly.
The barber puts on a smile, but he’s merciless. He will go on until he’s finished. He will shave me until all is gone, showing me the face of things.
And it’s up to me to make it either a bloody spectacle, or a smooth operation.