Back in June 2015, one late Friday afternoon. In a hurry as usual, deep in Bucharest traffic again, after the nth touch & go on a new errand, I have left home my wallet. I realize it too late when I am at the cashier on the point of paying the knee protectors for my son who the following day is supposed to face a very tough basketball team in the national tournament. In fact, not only do not I have along with me a leu, but even any kind of identification document.
I badly need those knee protectors and I am even eager to leave my wedding ring as a guarantee but my offer is politely dismissed. I do my best to explain my urgent need to the handsome young shop owner who by now must have classified me as the Italian variant of the anxious mother. After few unfathomable minutes of silence, the verdict: “stați liniștita, relax, you can pass by tomorrow after the match, success!, good luck” With a trustful smile he delivers me his bag with the black knee protectors. “Foarte amabil“, very kind, is all I am able to say and I really mean it.
On the road again. Back in my car I am calculating the best route needed to reach in time the Federația de Baschet to pick up my son and one of his team mates. Fully aware of being driving without license nor any other identity card, I cautiously go ahead. And here comes Murphy’s Law epiphany: at Unirii a police patrol endowed with paranormal abilities signs me to a halt for a routine check. It is the very first time in almost three years in Romania that a police patrol ever stops me. Which is also the very first time I happen to drive without any kind of document. Which is what I find myself telling in Romanian – with a touch of pitiful self-irony – to the earnest young policeman who is silently watching me.
He requests, at least, the car papers, that being all I can actually show him – anything else having been left behind at home inside a bag along with my other son’s medical papers, after a medical check earlier in the day. “Had I been in your shoes in Italy, Domna, can you guess where would they have taken me at this point?” In my mind I can see the whole scene: a young Romanian found without documents taken straight to the closest police station. I uncomfortably nod, he soon after confirms: “La secția!” (to the police station). He then takes a step back from the window car to let me go and with a proud smile wishes me “Drum bun!”, safe journey.
Yes, Romania can defy Murphy’s Law, above all can make you feel amazed when less you expect it. I call it the power of empathy.