Today I woke up a little extra tired and a little extra grumpy after an interrupted night’s sleep with a 3:00am wake up call from the seven-year-old having growing pains. So a little joy during that early morning grump-fog was reaching for my coffee cup in the cupboard. My mom thinks she is so clever. Years ago she gave me an alien coffee mug because she knows how fearful I am of aliens. To her surprise (and my own,) it has become my favorite coffee mug! I cracked a smile as I grabbed my mug, knowing that soon it would be full of hot, black, liquid adulting “supplements.”
If you knew me in college, then you probably know of my fear of aliens. It’s only natural to be afraid of aliens after you’ve been abducted! Twice! When I tell people about my encounter with the aliens, I now chuckle a little as I say it, because it is pretty unbelievable. And in fact, 20 years later, I’m not completely sure if I believe it myself. But. I shit you not, back in the summer of ’97 I slept with my light on for a solid two months.
My first encounter with my “friends” was the summer after my freshman year of college. I lived at home that summer at my parent’s house and often hung out with my friends from my senior year of high school. My friend and I killed time at the bookstore and at Waffle House drinking coffee-hot chocolate or cherry seven up. And a lot of the time in the bookstore was spent gazing at books about alien encounters. I can’t remember now which came first – the chicken or the egg? Was I magnetized to those books because I was trying to make sense of my experience or did all of those pages merge with my dreams?
So what the heck actually happened? Here’s how I remember it: That summer my sister was living at college, but my brother happened to be home during this time. I’m pretty sure my parents were at the beach. I was taking Calculus at DeKalb College and waitressing at Mozzarella’s Café and babysitting some, too. I went to bed “studying” or at least looking over notes many nights. And one particular night I switched off my light and fell asleep soundly. Then in the middle of the night I felt slightly awakened by a chattering noise, like squirrels, or if robot squirrels could speak digitally that is what the sound was like. My body was paralyzed and I couldn’t move at all. I wanted to talk and say something but I couldn’t. Somehow my voice was also paralyzed. There was a blueish glow outside my windows. And here’s the detailed part: They didn’t actually transport my body onto their ship. They just switched my brain with the brain of the alien that they had strapped onto a table- See, that’s why I was paralyzed. Because he was strapped down and my brain was inside his brain. And that’s why I could hear the aliens talking their squirrell-scratchy language because they were talking over my counterpart while he lay there and soaked up all of my thoughts. When they were finally done and released us – the strapped down alien and me, I was finally able to move again. I flipped on my light, flew out of bed and raced downstairs where my brother was playing guitar and watching T.V. I told him, “I think I was just abducted by aliens!” He looked at me funny and I told him I had been paralyzed in my bed, saw a blue light, and heard alien noises. He said, “You’re freaking me the fuck out!” And then I slept with my light on for the next two months. See- it doesn’t matter if there are other people in the house. They can still come to get you. Freaky huh?
I’d like to have a better memory of the chronology of the events back then. I know that the movie Contact with Jodie Foster came out my freshman year and that I was not afraid when I saw it. But after my summer encounter, I avoided all things alien, especially that show with David Duchovny if I’m getting the name and show right. Don’t know. Don’t care. Didn’t watch it and when I walked into the room while my mom had it on, I flew out of there like a kid about to get a spanking. But of course my family and friends thought it was hilarious that I thought I had been abducted. They started giving me alien toys, birthday cards, and yup, one really awesome alien mug.
Now I naturally have a lot of empathy when my kids want to sleep with their lights on. Duh! No Brainer! I don’t think it keeps the aliens away, but it doesn’t hurt to give it a try. That second abduction? I’m totally fuzzy on that now. I think it may have happened my sophomore year at the apartment complex me and my three friends lived in. But if it happened, it was much quicker than the first encounter. And it all feels rather dream-like. Of course, that’s probably exactly how the aliens want it to feel! Since it’s been twenty years now, I can sleep alone (which luckily doesn’t happen often!) with a mere nightlight instead of the glaring overhead light. I can even sip liquid happiness out of my alien coffee mug while wondering if it was all real, but with enough fear to never want to re-live it. I’d be good going another twenty years alien-free.