Prohibit el pas: drac en quarantena

Interior d'una cova des de la qual es veu la vista d'una ciutat al fons.
Photo by Luca Micheli on Unsplash

Hi havia una vegada, en una cova prop del poble de Montblanc, un drac confinat. Sí, ho heu llegit bé, un drac que feia dies que no es trobava gaire fi, el cap li bullia i quan intentava treure foc pels queixals, s’ofegava i començava a tossir sense parar. Una tos horrible que ressonava per les entranyes de la cova, fent un eco aterridor que empitjorava encara més el mal de cap que ja tenia. Seguint les recomanacions del seu metge de capçalera, amb qui havia tingut una consulta virtual via Zoom feia uns dies, havia de quedar-se dins la cova durant catorze dies i no podia tenir contacte amb ningú.

El problema és que amb les quatre costelles de xai que tenia a la nevera no arribaria gaire lluny… “Ai, si hagués fet casa a la meva mare i hagués invertit en un congelador…” Però la seva predilecció pel menjar fresc i acabat de caçar era difícil de combatre. Havia d’esbrinar com aconseguiria menjar sense sortir de la cova. Amb la reputació que s’havia guanyat al poble, sobretot en el sector ramader, seria difícil que algú s’oferís a ajudar-lo. Podria provar de demanar menjar a domicili però aleshores tot funcionava amb targeta de crèdit, i ell que era de la vella escola, no en tenia pas. Potser si aconseguís fer un pacte… Però quin? Què podia oferir un pobre drac que amb prou feines trobava forces per anar de l’habitació al lavabo? Va agafar paper i llapis, i va fer una llista amb les coses “interessants” que sabia fer:

  • Volar
  • Mirar a través de les parpelles
  • Cremar el sucre de la crema catalana (quan els pulmons ho permetien)

Mirat així, no semblava res de l’altre món. De sobte, va recordar una història que el seu avi li explicava de petit. Aquell drac que, de la seva sang, en naixien roses. Estaria bé poder intercanviar roses per xais però ell no tenia clar que la seva sang funcionés, i encara menys ara que estava malalt. Massa bonic per ser veritat. Desesperat, va fer una crida a Twitter: “Drac indisposat en quarantena sol·licita bestiar per poder sobreviure. Moltes gràcies de tot cor! #41°22’26.1″N 1°07’46.1″E #covid-19 #SOS”. Van passar dos dies i res. Ni un simple retweet. Algun dia s’hi hauria de posar de valent i millorar d’una vegada per totes la seva presència digital a les xarxes. Però abans de convertir-se en un influencer s’havia de recuperar. Havia intentat racionar el menjar que li quedava sense èxit. Les entranyes li feien tan mal que amb prou feines es podia posar dret. Resignat, intentava dormir tant com podia per així oblidar-se de la gana. Però costa tant adormir-se amb l’estómac buit… I a sobre, quan per fi s’adormia, somniava que menjava xais a la planxa d’aquells ben tendres, com els que li preparava la seva àvia cada diumenge.

Però un dia -no recordava exactament si era diumenge o dijous perquè els dies se li barrejaven en una mena de boira de color blau fosc-, quan estava mig endormiscat, va sentir un soroll estrany. I unes passes que s’allunyaven de pressa. Convençut que era part del somni, no hi va donar més importància. Fins que l’olor semblava tan real que es va despertar de cop. No era la primera vegada que tenia somnis tan intensos que semblaven reals, però allò era a un altre nivell. Va anar caminant com podia, topant de tant en tant amb les parets de la cova, seguint aquella olor majestuosa. Qualsevol hauria dit que anava borratxo, però a ell això de l’alcohol no li anava gaire.

A l’entrada de la cova, va veure una bossa de paper que estava 300% segur que no era seva. S’hi va acostar sigil·losament, i com més s’hi acostava, els budells li roncaven amb més i més força. Els ulls gairebé li van sortir de les òrbites quan va veure el contingut de la bossa: un tupper de vidre amb un pollastre a la brasa deliciós. Va haver de resistir la temptació d’endrapar el pollastre sencer en qüestió de minuts. Va menjar-se només una cuixa: pell inclosa (ell no havia sigut mai de menjar-se la pell però en aquells moments la desesperació era màxima).

Amb l’estómac content, no podia parar de pensar en el seu misteriós àngel de la guarda. Després d’inspeccionar minuciosament la bossa i el tupper, no va trobar ni rastre de la persona que l’havia portat. Va fer una piulada a Twitter en to d’agraïment i també va deixar una nota a l’entrada de la cova, sota una pedra. Sabia ben poc de la persona (o animal) que li duia el menjar, però fos qui fos, era una persona puntual, diligent i preocupada pel medi ambient. Cada dia a les 4:47 de la matinada, deixava la bossa amb el tupper i marxava corrents. Ell es moria de ganes d’agrair en persona aquell gnom o follet del bosc que li portava menjar i tot seguit desapareixia entre els arbres. Però ell romania a la part més profunda de la cova perquè no volia posar en perill la salut de ningú, i encara menys a la persona que l’estava ajudant desinteressadament. A vegades tenia la sensació que es trobava dins un conte: allò que estava vivint no semblava real.

Afortunadament, el drac cada dia es trobava una mica millor que el dia anterior i quan ja portava catorze dies aïllat a la cova, va contactar el seu metge. Li va enviar un palet amb cotó que es va haver de posar dins el nas (bastant desagradable, què voleu que us digui). També necessitava una mostra de la seva sang per detectar si havia generat anticossos. Pocs segons després de punxar-se el dit, va començar a sentir una olor ben estranya. I no precisament de pollastre rostit. Era una olor dolça i suau. Afalagat, va pensar que potser podria vendre la seva sang per fer-ne perfum. I no anava mal encaminat, perquè uns quants segons més tard, d’aquella goteta minúscula de sang, en va néixer una magnífica rosa.

Uns dies més tard, va rebre una trucada del metge: estava curat i ja podia sortir al món exterior. El drac no va pensar-s’ho ni un segon, va arreplegar tots els tuppers, la rosa i un tros de llençol blanc, i va emprendre el camí cap al poble. Els quatre ciutadans que caminaven pels carrers se’l miraven aterrits i marxaven corrents a amagar-se, malgrat la seva bandera blanca. Determinat a trobar el seu àngel de la guarda, explorava pacientment cada racó. Gràcies al seu sentit d’olfacte avançat, finalment va reconèixer l’olor del pollastre a la brasa. Va veure’l des de la finestra, però no es va atrevir a tocar el timbre perquè no volia espantar-lo. Era el forner del poble. Va deixar la pila de tuppers davant la porta i la rosa a sobre, amb un missatge.

I des d’aleshores, el poble de Montblanc va mirar-se el drac amb uns altres ulls, després de provar la deliciosa crema cremada que feia juntament amb el forner del poble. Quan s’acostava Sant Jordi, el drac donava quantitats considerables de sang de manera anònima i el personal sanitari, quan rebia aquella quantitat descomunal de roses, no s’ho podien creure. Qui era aquell àngel de la guarda? No ho arribarien a saber mai.

Guess what, I’m immune to coronavirus -I mean, an alien!- (Chapter 8)

Photo by Morgan Von Gunten

8th of April, 2020

Ladies and gentlemen, I can finally say goodbye to those sleepless nights staring at the ceiling… I’m officially immune. Take that, COVID-19! When Dr Crownie told me over the phone, my three-eyed-glasses almost crashed on the floor from the excitement. I got so pumped that I immediately created an event on Facebook to celebrate my immunity. I invited Dave, Dr Crownie and his lab assistant, and his weird four-legged creature with a tail and a big tongue. Shortly after everyone started rejecting my invitation: “Sorry mate, can’t make it”. “Hopefully next time”. “Quite busy at the moment”. “Unfortunately I got my online shiatsu massage scheduled at that time”. How silly of me. Obviously, no one would be able to come to my party. Sometimes I feel like I’m from another planet. Do you ever feel this way?

So here’s the thing. (DISCLAIMER: I’m not 100% sure this is true, but hey, who is?) Right now, I might be the only living creature who can break the rules and get away with it. I could go out for a run 15 times a day. I could eat mindfully in empty restaurants (cooking my food and quickly refilling my cup of water after drinking). I could travel around Europe in a private jet (It’s not actually a private jet, but I would be the only passenger anyway, so it would be super cool) and go sightseeing in ghost cities. I could buy one banana in every single supermarket in town (for market research purposes, you got me). There’re so many things I could do that I don’t know where to start… Truth is, it might eventually get boring -and potentially quite depressing-. I need to start thinking of ways I could clone myself or just anyone really… But someone COVID-19-proof. And then we could travel the world, less than two meters apart, holding each other’s hands… And it would feel like a dream. These are just my humble ideas. What would YOU do if you if you were immune too? 😉

Guess what, I’m an alien! (Chapter 7)

Red and white daruma doll figurine on pink background.
Easter 2020 in a nutshell. Yes, I know it’s not a egg. Photo by Brunno Tozzo

2nd of April, 2020

I feel like it has been Sunday for ten days in a row but I have the impression this might not be possible. At least, here on Earth. Anyway, somehow I forgot to write in my diary… Luckily I didn’t forget about my virtual appointment with my GP several days ago. Dr Crownie, still wearing his SpongeBob pyjamas, seemed to be fascinated with my case. He was also deeply concerned in case coronavirus caused unexpected symptoms in my body. Then he went on about his long career and how he had never encountered a similar situation and asked for permission to write a report about me. If I could blush, I could have… But aliens don’t blush. My mum would be so proud of me! I would be famous! Right you, back to the important bits. So yeah, basically Dr Crownie told me that I have to collect and send some samples for him to perform a “thorough and compendious” analysis. No idea what he meant, but I agreed anyway. He needed blood, breath, urine and hair. HAIR! What on Mars is that? Ah right, that fluffy thing some humans have to keep their head nice and warm… Well, I don’t have (or need) any of that, thank you very much.

So yeah, unfortunately I still don’t know if I can get coronavirus. I have to wait for the results… I feel cool as a cucumber, but I’d rather be safe than sorry. And no, of course I didn’t manage to get those COVID-19 positive human samples from the hospital because Dr Crownie told me to self-isolate at home until he has more information on how to proceed. Yes, I am a disappointment to my family. I might not be allowed in my hometown ever again. And no, my aunt won’t send me chocolate eggs for Easter… Not even a card.

Guess what, I’m an alien! (Chapter 6)

24th of March, 2020

I have to admit that when Dave first mentioned it, I was about to bake a cake because I thought they had discovered a new asteroid. Turns out it’s not exactly that. And it’s not good news. But I was kind of close. Ladies and gentlemen, I’m sure you know there’s a new virus going around. What you might not know is that there’s an astrobioligist called Chandra Wickramasinghe that claimed that COVID-19 came from space, travelling through a meteor. Offended? A LOT. Puzzled? That too. I wish I had paid more attention at school… I am too embarrassed to email my teacher about this. Luckily, my aunt is a police officer, so I found appropiate sending her a link with the article so she can properly investigate the issue. She told me that she needs proof ASAP. Guess who will have to sneak into the hospital and “borrow” some positive swab samples COVID-19 positive… Not sure exactly how am I going to send them over to her. But I’ll sort out the logistics tomorrow.

But still, there’s too many questions unanswered for my poor four brains… Can I, since everyone keeps claiming I am an “alien” (no comments…), get infected with the virus as well? Should I expect the same symptoms as humans? Do I need to wear a mask? Where do I find a mask that doesn’t irritate my slimy skin? Are the space borders closed as well or can I go and “briefly” visit my mum to tell her I’m OK? I phoned 007 and when I explained I was an alien they hung up and blocked my number. SHOCKING. No one seems to take me seriously here, except from Dave. Because look, if it turns out I am immune to COVID-19, I could go and help at the hospitals, do the grocery for elderly people, walk people’s dogs… But instead, here I am, stuck in my flat, refreshing teenager memories by watching Venus Shore for the fifth time… And I can’t even meet Dave for a cup of tea.

Tomorrow at 2.59pm I have a videocall with my GP. Let’s see what he has to say… Stay safe everyone…

Hungry for more? 😉

Mind-blowing moments of 2019

  • Washine-machine safe tissues (Read again. Yes. Funny spelling mistakes)
  • Realising that I’ve been pronouncing the word ‘sandwich’ wrong all my life (and feeling comforted by knowing that it’s a common mistake amongst Spanish and Italian speakers)
  • Realising that ‘tanga’ means the same in Catalan and Hungarian
  • Period-proof panties
  • Some buses in Edinburgh finally have separate doors for getting on and off (Respect for the people who shout ‘THANK YOU” to the driver while exiting through the middle door).
  • Tallest man on earth might not be the tallest, but his guitar skills are highly remarkable
  • A webster is not someone with a high level of computer literacy but someone who weaves cloth

Guess what, I’m an alien! (Chapter 5)

Weirdly-shaped things I can lift with my pinkie

20th of January, 2020

Today it’s meant to be the most depressing day of the year but I’m over the moon! Christmas is over and the calm has been restored. Dave (sorry, Santa Claus) was a total sweetheart and gave me a pair of wonderful handmade woolen socks which happened to fit me perfectly (I’ll save them for the summer though: now it’s far too hot to wear them anyway). He said he knitted them himself. I know it was his grandma. I would have never thought I could eat so much food in such a reduced timeframe. So yes, I am a bit chubbier than usual but still looking cool. I signed up at the gym and started trying things out. I did a bit of running in a thing very similar to a conveyor belt of a supermarket. After 678 seconds, the evil machine started beeping like crazy. I should have seen this coming. A friendly gentleman quickly approached me to check if I was feeling dizzy. “I haven’t been better!” – I assured him, with a big smile. His eyes almost popped out. Later on, I found a really cool looking bike, so I climbed up and started pedalling. Between you and me: changing the duvet cover is way more appealing than all this pedalling to nowhere. After a bit of wandering around and observing all sorts of creatures, hairstyles and outfits, I found a mysterious wooden room. I couldn’t see much when I got inside, even with my glasses on, but I quickly noticed that the fellow next to me was sweating enough to fill in at least a pint of water. I immediately got goosebumps and I started shivering. Very intriguing indeed. Just so you get an idea of the place, it was like a wooden freezer. I’ll have to ask Dave about its purpose. The only thing I know is that next time I’ll bring my ski suit, glove, hat… and a head torch.

Hungry for more? 😉

Sun-kissed banana skin

Someone should have warned me about this. I mean, I knew about the bagpipes. The rain. The Highland cows. But this? Is it a gift for Pomona, the Roman Goddess of fruit and nut trees? A Celtic ritual? A prank? First, it was a banana skin. Then, a handful of grapes. Maybe it’s just a genuine act of goodwill. But hey, whoever left the skin of a banana wasn’t feeling too generous, don’t you think? 

The thing is that every time I return the shopping cart after my grocery shopping, I experience an extremely disturbing sensation, as if someone was watching me. Even when there is no one around, I still get the same odd feeling. Morning and evening. Weekdays and weekends. Like two sharp knives tickling softly the back of my neck. I nervously get my 1 pound coin back and I start walking: straight back, shoulders down and chin up. Usually things fall off my bags and once I almost hit a lamppost. No matter what happens, I don’t stop walking. I have to get away from the supermarket ASAP. When I start crossing the road, I get goosebumps. And then, that strange beeping in my right ear which lasts 27 minutes on average. As you might be thinking, I’m starting to dread my weekly shopping. And it used to be my favourite thing to do. I would even offer to shop for my friends! I’ve tried shopping in several supermarkets (even in different cities) but nothing seems to work. 

Now I can’t help but wonder if I should be leaving some fruit on my cart too. Who knows, perhaps this way my nightmare would end. Maybe a kiwi? Some tangerines? Strawberries? How could I be sure that it would be appropriate? Sweet would be a safer choice than sour, right? I wouldn’t want to offend anyone. And here I am, at 2am, wondering what fruit I should leave at my cart tomorrow. And without having made a final decision, tomorrow I will go to the supermarket. And the knives will tickle me again and again… 

Websters Land

Only certain people were allowed there. The requirements were secret and confidential, so if you wanted to join the club, you had to request an appointment and wait to be assessed. There was no way one could prepare for it, as you would do for an audition or exam, and that was part of the deal. Looking through the bars, I spotted an intriguing sign: “No items to be left in walkway or chained to railings”. Was it a minimalist club? Some sort of feng shui gang? Or maybe the assessment took place in the walkway and that’s why it had to be hazard-free and empty. But why would they need so much space in the first place? Maybe it was all about a fight, a dance or a Twister competition. One could just dream and wonder. It was equally exciting and terrifying. If you signed up for one of the assessment sessions, you would sign a contract agreeing to basically everything. Just between you and me, I’ve applied 99 times in the last month. They never got back to me a single time. I’m not entirely sure what might have gone wrong.    

Sweet old Websters land. I guess a decent degree of computer literacy would help pass the test. What else could ‘webster’ mean? It’s surprisingly close to the word ‘hipster’ and ladies and gentlemen, I do not believe in coincidences. A webster must be someone who is cool with computers. Someone who writes code while making homemade vegan meatballs. Someone trendy. Websters land is the paradise of IPs, binary code and cookies. And I can’t wait to be part of it. I’ll just need to apply one more time and hope not to land on the SPAM folder. Maybe this time I’ll be able to find out what’s all this about. Or maybe I’ll never will. Maybe it’s all just a big computer-generated dream. Wait, is it 7am already?! 

Disclaimer: webster is an archaic term for ‘weaver’ (someone whose job is to weave cloth). I do not take any responsibility for the confusion created within the human population, linguists and IT professionals.    

No need for binoculars

It was very toasty in there. It wasn’t necessarily good or bad. But it was definitely something worth mentioning. And there was a really annoying noise in the background. I don’t know how to describe it. It was hard to focus on the job. Every 10 minutes or so, a light breeze would come in and someone would stare at us. Just between you and me, the situation was quite violent. I don’t remember signing any papers agreeing to this kind of treatment. Did you? And there was no place to hide, which made things even worse! We were clearly not ready. Why couldn’t he just leave us alone? I swear I tried to make it clear, but the fellow wouldn’t get it, and simply kept staring with this annoying hesitant look on his face. I mean, yeah. One could possibly blame Hitchcock for “Rear Window” and the peeping theme. But. Here, there were no cameras or binoculars involved. And the fellow was anything but discreet. Oh, and that filthy thing underneath us. First things first, it was so shiny I could barely open my eyes. And last but not least, it made me want to scratch my skin like a psycho. But for reasons only God knows, I couldn’t, and I guess I’ll never be able to. I guess being a chicken nugget is not an easy job, my friends. Stay strong!

Guess what, I’m an alien! (Chapter 4)

10th of December, 2019
I have 2 friends and a half. Yipee! And no, I didn’t cut anyone in half. Yet. It’s just that we’re almost friends, but we’re not quite there yet. I think there’s potential though. About 74.3%.

15th of December, 2019
I met up with Dave last night. We had a blast. Please don’t judge me, but I tried one of the “funny” drinks: gin and tonic. I felt nothing apart from bubbles in my tummy and a tickly sensation in my nose that made me sneeze. 5 times in a row. No clumsiness, redness or talking nonsense. To be honest, in a way I’m relieved, but also a bit disappointed.

18th of December, 2019
Dave is a 3D printing specialist. He does really cool stuff. He has printed me some kickass 3-eyed-glasses and I can’t thank him enough. Sometimes, when I’m bored, I go back to the opticians and take a goosey gander around the shop, just for fun. You’d be amazed at the amount of chin drops! I bet they’d all sell their kidneys to get glasses as cool as mine!

Apparently, Christmas is coming (to town). Everyone is pumped and I feel utterly confused. The dazzling lights give me ocular migraine. Dave’s been trying to explain it to me but I’m not sure I got it. Everyone shops like crazy. And here’s the important bit: no matter what they buy, they need to wrap it with fancy shiny paper! Is it a protective measure? Just for fun? Are they embarrassed of what they bought? Worried that the police might find out? Think about it: why would you hide something you’ve just bought? It looks suspicious. I’ll need to ask Dave. There are all sorts of information on Google but I’m not sure if the sources are reliable. I’d rather check with a local. Oh, and then there’s this chubby grandpa with a big white beard constantly ringing a bell… Life is so weird here.