Hate speeches are like the noise of kitchen extractors: one only understands how much they were twitching until they are turned off for a while and peace is restored. Last week I received a photo of a door on WhatsApp. For anyone else that door would mean nothing but I recognized it immediately. When I was a teenager I went out for it hundreds of times with my head half wet, my ears plugged and my face softened. It was night and while he was out on the streets the liquid in the pipes turned into stalactites, behind that door there was an enclosure built by the welfare state where the water became steam. In the midst of criminal frosts, a giant bathtub filled with hot water gave us children the unprecedented opportunity to do lengths at a time of year when until then it was only possible to swim in dreams. How good we were. On winter Saturday afternoons in a city with an industrial past and freezing temperatures, the opening of the public heated swimming pool was an event.
So when that photo came to my phone I remembered all those moments of my childhood and then I understood perfectly what the person who sent it meant to me: in there, at that precise moment, in the same public sports facilities, they were vaccinating a being much loved at risk age. This time my father was going to walk out of that door with the Pfizer on. Again, another great event. My eyes clouded like the glass in a heated swimming pool. Nobody had warned me about this side effect of the vaccine: at certain ages it is very difficult to feel new things. The heart hardens, the jaws clench, the floodgates close. And yet there I was, releasing an emotion … Those who have also felt it already know what I mean: a mixture of relief, vertigo and supreme joy. A form of affection that is not directed only to the specific person who has since become part of the club of the protégés, but also to the generic community that has achieved that what a year ago seemed like a miracle is now being done reality. A small individual pride that has to do with the certainty of being part of something great and plural.
In recent weeks I have seen many people in networks apologizing for not being able to suppress the impulse to inform others that their father, mother, grandmother, sister, daughter or partner have already been vaccinated. As if it were much smarter to spread a hate speech than a love one. As if we were strictly forbidden to turn off the extractor.