lunes, 11 de febrero de 2013


    It seems pretty clear that sometimes things happen randomly. It’s well known that most events follow the cause and effect relationship, but sometimes one doubts whether or not there’s a rational explanation to things that come up. One may doubt whether or not these things happen because of causality or because of some estrange reason: spirit, mind power, cosmic energy, a hand from a passed-away relative… summing up, something mysterious outside the range of nature’s laws. I am myself a bit of a sceptic about paranormal forces, however, sometimes I feel unsure or I get stunned at certain events. Something similar happened to Dr Rypff during his last trip to Barcelona some days ago, leaving Black Panther aside. Let’s call them three funny anecdotes within barely 24 hours.

- Bus number 42:
    Petrus and his daughter come back from visiting Park Güell, wonderful by the way. They are actually in a bit of a hurry and getting into the first mayor road at sight they think of taking the city’s underground. They ask an old lady for the nearest station and she replies they can find one in less than a ten-minute’ walk. No far from there, they see some people, most of them tourists, waiting at a bus stop; among the foreigners there are two girls chatting in the Catalan language. The girls don’t seem part of A. Mas’s family so Dr Rypff approaches them and, hoping to get an answer in Spanish from them, asks them if there’s any bus to Las Ramblas o Plaça de Catalunya. One the girls answers friendly that bus 42 is due in five minutes and that Plaça de Catalunya is a stop in the bus’ rout. Dr Rypff spends this five minutes smoking, then the bus arrives and, surprisingly, everybody at the stop, tourists included, get on the bus. Once on, Dr Rypff asks the driver how much for two tickets, the driver answers annoyed -provably due to lengthy working hours- that €2.70, the exact amount Petrus gets after emptying his wallet. More people get onto the bus so they all feel squeezed into. Bumping and nudging ahead, everybody struggle to their seats. Petrus’ daughter, absent-minded as she is, stands scarcely five meters far from her dad, who is holding onto the iron bar vertically placed at the bottom of the bus. Few stops later, Dr Rypff sees himself surrounded by a gang of lovely old ladies. One of them asks him “Excuse me, are you getting down next stop?”, “Sorry but I can’t tell you because I’m going to Plaça de Catalunya and I don’t know which stop it is…”, “Don’t worry, we are getting down there too” she says “but look at the traffic, it’s terrible, and all the stops still to do… this bus won’t get there before 45 minutes!”. She carries on saying that very close from there there is an underground station they themselves are thinking of taking to save some time and that the same bus ticket can be used as an underground ticked free of charging. All in a sudden the bus stops, Dr Rypff calls his daughter who, despite being trapped among the people, makes her way out just before the bus doors close. The gang of old ladies go with the doctor and his child and in less than a minute they go underground. Petrus and his daughter keep a faster pace and they gain distance from the old ladies until one of then shouts “sir, turn RIGHT!”. So they do and they eventually step into the platform in time for the train. Five minutes later, exactly as the old lady had foretold, they get up to Plaça de Catalunya. Dr Rypff’s daughter’s face shines in wonder and astonishment as she beholds the grandeur of the square, dress up with Christmas lights, the beautiful buildings and the merry crowd going up and the down.

- Sant Andreu Pharmacy, 8.45 pm.
    Petrus and Zola Rypff travel from Plaça de Catalunya to Fabra i Puig station, the nearest station to their hotel and to Parc Esportiu de Can Dragó, where Heike Rypff has been running since 12 pm in a sport event lasting for 24 hours. As they were getting close, Heike phones his husband so he may be able to get her some pills, for her ankle is aching badly and she needs something to ease the pain in order to carry on the running. This task doesn’t seem as easy as it should be since they are now in the outskirt of Barcelona and they don’t know where to find a chemist still open on a Saturday night. As he’s trying to figure out where to find it, he randomly looks to his right and sees a pharmacy still lights on but half closed. “Let’s go and try” he tells his daughter “we may get there in time”. They run there and see a man wearing a white overalls stained with paint and carrying a ladder on his shoulder, “it’s closed” he says “we’ve been painting all week long so it’s been closed”. Yet disappointed, Dr Rypff doesn’t give up and asks “Is there any chemist inside?”, “Yes, that’s me” a friendly voice coming from the inside says “but I’m terribly sorry I can’t sell you anything because the computers are off.” Petrus explains him how urgently he needs the tablets to cure an osteorticular pain, no matter gel, cream… he lets the chemist know he’s a doctor, suggests several analgesics brands, even algesal cream… happily, the chemists says he can give him the latter, because he knows where exactly it is and its price, €12. Petrus opens his wallet, and how amazing! The exact amount he has left after a long day spending money down the drain. He pays, thanks the chemist and speeds to Parc Esportiu telling Zola she’d better walks faster.

    They finally get the athletics track where they immediately notice most runners are jogging slowly and heavily so exhausted they feel after 9 hours of non-stop running. The judges declare that only 91 out of 120 runners are still on the arena. On the scoreboard Heike’s score marks 63.3 Km, that’s 148 times around the athletics track, Petrus sees then his wife: she seems to be tired and in pain but her face shows self-confidence and satisfaction. It seems clear that none of the four world female champions in 24-hour run ahead overpasses her in either nerve or in pain bearing. Heike makes a pit stop to bathe her ankle with magic algesal, at least we all expect it to be magical. After a drink of isotonic water and a quick kiss she goes back to the running and Petrus admires the graceful movements of her wife after 9 hours running, no wonder why her fellow runners call her the Gazelle of Heidelberg.

- One familiar face.
    While Petrus and Zola go out for walk and lunch to a nearby shopping centre and, Heike had a four-hour rest at the hotel. When she finished, she tries to stand on her feet, every inch of her body is achy but the satisfaction for her success is stronger. Leaning on Zola she passes the gate out of the hotel where Petrus is packing a taxi with the driver’s help; then they get onto the car and leave for the airport. At the departures gate, Petrus asks one member of the airport staff for a wheelchair for his wife, who’s going to be now as the heroine of Barcelona-Heidelberg. She’s been the sixth leading woman, just behind the world-champion female contenders: a German, a Spanish-Basque, a Byelorussian and a New Zealander; plus a Scottish, Europe’s runner-up twice. It is worth mentioning that Heike had never run longer than 6 hours on an athletics track and has always hesitated about taking a Cooper test, designed to run as far as possible within 12 minutes to measure the hearth rate and some more stuff. Her opinion on this being that running around an athletics track is boring and fit only for hamsters.

    Heike feels terribly hungry and thirsty. As they have plenty of time, they go to a café near to the checking point. Before getting into the place, Petrus looks at an old man sitting on a bench. His face seems familiar to him; he can’t really tell if it is the face of any famous character. When they are all seated at the café, Petrus thinks of having a second look over the old man. He approaches the man and tells him he looks like the husband of a patient he treated 8 years ago in Heidelberg. Then he also asks whether he is from Lorca, a town in Murcia. Surprised, the man replies that his wife is indeed German, but from Frankfurt, never been in Heidelberg; and what’s more, he’s from the Region of Murcia, but not from Lorca, although he knows the city well. “By the way” he old man says “aren’t you a psychiatrist by any chance? Because that’s been the only professional my wife has ever had need of”. Dr Rypff nods, shakes hands with the old man and utters “auf Wiedersehen” as an apology for the disturb. Eventually, he goes back to his family. 




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