I'm walking along late at night, kicking the can someone has so carelessly thrown on the sidewalk despite a trash can in plain view. Litter angers me, for no specific reason, it just does. Such a simple act of picking up after one's self, of putting refuse in its proper place is often considered just too damn much trouble. Clutter grates on my nerves, when I've worked all day and come home at night and the same things I picked up the night before are back in the floor. I grumble, aggravated at someone I don't even know, as I reach down to retrieve the empty Mountain Dew can. I toss it, as it is in mid arc towards the trash receptacle I suddenly feel a lightness, see a darkness and do not hear the clunk as the can meets its mark.
I awaken slowly, heavily lidded eyes hazily scanning my surroundings. I realize I'm restrained, gently so, yet unable to move. I'm not uncomfortable, there's an unnatural peace and I hear quiet murmuring. I see them, tall and thin, almost silvery translucent with huge eyes. I cannot understand what they say but strangely I seem to understand what they mean.
Beside me is another like me, strapped to the table. His face is mottled red as he rants almost incoherently about the traffic. I catch snatches of phrases, "made me late again", "stupid cab driver", as the tall slender beings lean over him with a cylindrical object as if scanning his body, testing it, learning from it.
As I lift my head slightly I see table after table of people encountering the same treatment. Words fly around the room..."get outta my way", "what the hell", "he was OUT damnit"..."you idiot"!
"Clunk", the can hits its mark and I amble home with a strange new attitude, one I can't place, one that's a bit foreign to me.
Straight from the sci fi channel yes, but alien abduction stories have been with us for ages. No one ever knows why they were 'taken', but they all come back 'changed', some almost spiritually reborn.
Aliens can't understand our anger, our impatience with life, with the simplest of day to day activities. We are such an angry society, prone to violence at the drop of a hat. The words, "I'm gonna kill you" are often spoken in jest, an idle threat. But they tumble so effortlessly from our lips. And too often fiction becomes fact.
We push and shove and butt in line, we grit our teeth and count the items in the 10 or less shopping baskets. We yell at television sets as if the coaches and players can hear us. Road rage, going postal, domestic violence, we beat our children, we beat our pets. We throw things, we throw tantrums, we throw our family out.
We live in a world today resplendent with all the best life can offer, yet we are never satisfied, never have enough or have too much of something. Our dissatisfaction must be someone else's fault. So we yell, and we hit, and we stomp our way through life taking it out on whoever gets in our way.
More marriages today end in divorce. The prisons are fuller than ever before. The highways are die-ways and 'getting him' is the catchword of the political and workplace scenarios. Retaliation and revenge are in, scowls are the norm, and doctors blame our health woes on our emotions.
More fights, more arguments, and more killings headline school news. It's sensationalism at its best when the papers print more information about who was punished for what transgression than lauded for an achievement.
Nothing is ever good enough or fast enough or slow enough or big enough or... ENOUGH!
There has never been a more abundant offering of counseling, or use of pills to deal with the fury, Whether it be herbal remedies, or this pillow, or that mattress, even magnets in the inserts of our shoes, people are capitalizing on our inability to cope. We then get ticked because someone made a fortune on our pain.
Whenever anyone claims to have been abducted by alien life forms, the description is usually that they were gentle creatures, that they did not hurt them. They speak of an incredible 'peacefulness' and 'calm' and 'serenity'. I'm sure they wonder at our anger. It's a shame that we don't.
So, maybe they take us and probe us, trying to find that elusive factor or gene we possess that makes us as we are. Perhaps they find it and take it from some, hoping it will be a small beginning to a larger end. Maybe they are afraid to come here with us as we are, waiting for a mass visitation when they feel safe.
Why are we angry? Why do we get so upset over little things, especially those over which we have no control? Why can't we learn to take it in stride? How important IS what provokes us?
Tonight when I go home and trip over my daughter's backpack, I think I'll smile. What's a little clutter in my life? After all, it means she's there.