Service in a Saucer


I wrote this originally in 2088 while still living abroad, and am doing so now for a number of reasons which range from serious to facetious.

First, I’ve always been more than just mildly annoyed at the difficulties I’ve had entering the UK over the years, despite having lived there for eight. I’ve lived in China and Russia, and never faced the same sort of scrutiny that I have there, strawberry blonde, green-eyed, American passport toting Southern girl that I am. To be sure, it is nowhere nearly as bad as it used to be, and hasn’t happened in a very long time – mostly because now when they ask why I’m there, I simply say “because I can,”  list my address as The Dorchester and stare – but it used to border on absurd. Once, when my son was still a very small toddler, I was stopped at customs at Gatwick and challenged on whether or not I had the right to bring my child abroad with me. It was about 2 a.m. in our home in the U.S., but the customs officials pulled me aside and insisted on calling my ex-husband, despite the fact that I had a notarized letter from my lawyer ex-husband stating that my son was in my sole custody,  as well as a copy of our custody agreement which clearly stated the same, in addition to my by then well worn UK work visa.

This was just one of many such silly experiences over the years; in short, it could be quite ridiculous. I was also once challenged in Amsterdam, having been stopped by customs and accused of having a fake Louis Vuitton bag, when it was oh so very real. I admit to having gone just a little bit more than sideways over that one, as we were getting off of a flight from Hong Kong on which I can assure you there were at least fifty people with fake LV bags who were not stopped for the same. I do seem to attract only the very finest reactions and elements of mankind.

But the other reason I’m reprinting this is because only yesterday, the Chilean Navy released the file of a UFO encounter from two years ago, including their aircraft’s video of the incident, and admitted that after much consideration and investigation, they still cannot explain the craft that was observed or its origin, and as such have no choice but to declare it openly as a UFO. Given that one of my favorite movies is Mars Attacks, and that I generally have an entirely twisted sense of humor, this filled me with many diffuse, imaginative thoughts as well as much mirth.

Maybe they are finally here. And maybe they will be the supersonic, outer atmosphere traveling, customs skipping Uber of the skies. Oh the profit they could make.


Service in a Saucer – 2008

Last week there were three reports out of the UK that all made me start to think once again about the phenomenon or possibility of life on other planets, visitors from the great beyond or, simply put, little green men. Not, however, in the way that you will likely assume.

I do not wonder IF they exist – the first story of which I speak was about a crop circle in the fields of Wiltshire that clearly and accurately depicts the first ten digits of the mathematical symbol of pi, and also, apparently, predicts an upcoming planetary eclipse. Well clearly this was done by aliens – have you ever met someone who was a product of the public (government) school system in the UK? They cannot do simple math in their heads so you thus cannot convince me that there is a tribe of them somewhere who are not only mathematical geniuses, but who also own fantastically advanced and doggy-pitch quiet tractors, a viewing platform of, oh, say, 1,000 ft in height and have the artistic ability of Damien Hirst. It was the little green men – it had to be. At least that’s my rationalization of it.

Then there was the story out of South Wales about the local police helicopter that witnessed, photographed, videotaped and was pursued by a “disc shaped object that glowed and seemed to be able to accelerate at an unearthly speed.” I’ve been to South Wales and more specifically, I’ve been more drunk and had more hallucinations in Wales than in any other country on this planet, so this one, I’m afraid, is not as credible on the face of it. However, given the macho nature, inability to admit any sort of variance from the norm, and general overwhelming need of all Welsh men to fit in and just be one of the blokes, it does carry some grain of believability. Nothing is as important to those people as being able to trod down to the local pub on any given night and just blend in and get pissed without being pointed at and called the crazy assed nancy-boy who saw the little green men. So again, I think it had to be visitors from beyond.

And although there does not seem to be a great deal of talk about exactly whom it is that constructs these amazing and meticulous crop circles in Wiltshire, there is a huge amount of buzz on the internet and in the mainstream media in general about the South Wales flying saucer incident. But everyone seems to be missing the point – or at least no one is asking the question to which I most want to know the answer:

If these are visitors from another planet, how the hell did they get through British customs?

Think about it. Only earlier this week it was announced that Martha Stewart’s visa to attend a speaking engagement at the Royal Academy had been denied because of her past criminal history. Criminal history?! The woman taught an entire women’s prison to knit, cook, sew and otherwise become more productive citizens during her hard-core incarceration for, what was it again? Terrorism? Treason? Oh. That’s right. Insider trading for an amount of profit that wouldn’t even buy the buttercream it would take to ice all of her cakes for one year.

And I’m sorry, but there is no way that the guys (or girls or its) who made the crop circles, in particular, were not packing some sort of contraband item. They had to have some sort of instrument to make such precise cuts and indentations, didn’t they? Ok, maybe not a blade, but at least one very cool laser type thingy. And given the quick job they made of the crop circle – it was apparently an in and out deal – do you think that they sent their required instruments in their checked luggage and waited for it at Stonehenge baggage carousel 9? Nope. Clearly they were allowed to carry them on board. And what about the liquid hydrogen or whatever it is they use to fuel their spaceships? That cannot be a stable compound for air travel now, can it? And to get here from hundreds of light years away it most assuredly had to be more than 100 ml of liquid that was required, and I somehow feel quite certain that the refill they would have needed to return home was not contained within the confines of a quart sized Ziploc bag. And the clothes you would need to be away from home for that long would never fit into one carry on plus one suitcase that weighs less than 28 kilos. The changes of underwear alone would take up your entire “personal affects allowance” (and you know what they say about the effects of warp speed on the bladder). I’ll just bet that they didn’t starve while on that journey, either, and were allowed to use whatever cutlery or accoutrement they fancied. And when they needed a wee, I’ll wager that they did not have to hop up and down desperately with their legs (tails, scales, whatever) crossed while waiting for some lard ass alien (and there is always one) to come out of the only loo that was located in their own class of travel.

So what I want to know is how they did it. And if they had to fill out a little customs form. And if they had to declare everything they brought with them. And if they had to pay duty on things that were purchased in another galaxy. And if not, I want to know if hence forward they will come to my house or hotel, collect my luggage and any shopping that I have done and deliver it to my final destination. They’re clearly either paying off someone in customs or circumventing it altogether, and they are clearly more reliable and efficient than British Airways. So FedEx, beware. When your pilots start to file reports of alien sightings, it’s not because they want to attack you. It’s just the start of some friendly inter-galactic competition. They just know a gap in the market when they see one, and they know that with the rising cost of earthly fuels and the constant deterioration of our airports’ and airlines’ ability to do anything right, they could make a killing. The marketing alone would be a cinch…”For a service that is out of this world….”