Saturday, 7 November 2009

A Douglas Adams Moment

Sometimes when we encounter something strange, there seems to be a driving force that tries very hard to make it appear to be the most ordinary thing in the world which makes perfect sense (at the time). However, if you remember and think about it later, you might think: "What the hell was that?" or "Did I miss something?".

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, let me give you an example: last summer holliday, my wife and I were wandering around in a small mediterranean village in Croatia when we found an abandoned house that was inhabited by a cow. My wife discovered the cow when looking through a window and took this photograph:

Photo by Gordana Malicevic, September 2009. View large on Flickr.

We were all excited about the cow standing in what was once a living room and apparently it was eating the sofa (or the straw with which it was stuffed, that was not entirely clear). Since we both find cows are rather cool animals, we watched it for a while and then waited in front of the house with the intention to take another picture when the cow would come out. After a while we got tired of waiting in vain and left.

It was much later back home when I was looking at this picture and I had this Douglas Adams moment; I was (and still am) worried that the poor cow is still there, trapped in that house together with the sofa. Fact is we saw the cow in the house and the picture proves it. The room is quite small and-now that I think about it-the doors of the house are very narrow and small too. In fact, it is astonishing that the cow managed to get in in the first place. However, it is unlikely that the cow is a quantum physicist and in the posession of an Improbability Drive, so it must have gotten in there one or the other usual way through the door.

The question is will the cow get out again? Is there enough room for it to turn around? The problem is that cows cannot walk backwards, at least not the common ones! Will the straw from the sofa keep it healthy and alive until I can check on it next year?

If you now think: "What is this guy talking about? Of course it will get out of there, why should it not?", then go and get the book Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams and read what happened to the sofa and the staircase!

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