Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Current mood: adventurous
My daughter called me last night from Iowa to tell me that she and her friends were sitting on a bluff someplace at 10:30 at night watching a UFO – had been for fifteen or twenty minutes. Of course, I didn’t answer the call, so I missed all the real details, except for her disappointment that I hadn’t answered my phone. I no longer have a land-line and if I did, it would be one of the big, heavy Bakelite numbers from the forties with a rotary dial that clicked and clacked as you dialed and rang like the alarm at a fire station. Watch any Humphrey Bogart picture that wasn’t set on a boat or the desert and you will see the phone I’m talking about. Just don’t fixate on his lisp or the excess of saliva his mouth produces or you will get grossed out and miss the telephone altogether.
All I have is a cell-phone. I bought one for me and one for Allison when she lived with me (and one for Logan, too – which was eaten by a dog. No shit.) and once that was done, there was no real reason to hang onto a land-line. Now that I live alone, there is even less reason to have a home phone to remind me that no one calls. Especially if it is a forties Bakelite model. If your telephone never rings and some bill collector suddenly decides to call and that firehouse-alarm ring startles you into cardiac arrest and there is no one there to help you but an ugly little dog which doesn’t even have the physical wherewithal to dial 9-1-1, you can be truly fucked. And the last face you will ever see is that of the ugly little dog who is waiting patiently nearby to wait for you to stop breathing so it can eat your nose and all the goodies inside.
This Marie Provost death scenario is one of the reasons my cell phone is set to “vibrate”. Not only does it feel better in my pocket than the Bugs Bunny theme, it only startles me slightly and not nearly enough to cause heart failure. Anyhow, that’s why I didn’t answer my daughter’s call – my phone was on vibrate. And in the office charging. So there was no chance I was going to know about the call until this morning unless I checked it before I went to bed or did some writing after “American Pickers” and I am far too lazy to do either.
But the missed phone call is not really why I am writing today – I wanted to write about UFOs. While my daughter was gushing about the UFO she and her friends were tracking across and all around the Iowa skies, I couldn’t help but think about my own experiences with the great unknown lights in the night. I was dating a girl named Tammi back in 1980, who lived three houses down from my father. One summer night, we were sitting out on her flower box made of railroad ties at three in the morning, gazing upward at the sky. It was three in the morning and why we were gazing at the sky, I have no idea. Nor do I have a decent excuse. We must have just started dating… Anyway, as we were gazing upward into the brilliant desert sky, we saw a light speeding through the night, moving at a speed far too fast for that of a jet or a helicopter. The light was small and whenever I saw aircraft at a similar distance, they always appeared to be moving very slowly across the sky. This thing was hauling ass. “Do you see that?” Tammi asked. Before I could reply, the light did a loop-de-loop and shot out of sight, as if it were heading directly, with great purpose, the hell out of the atmosphere. “Whoa!!!” We both shouted, aware that we could possibly awaken her mother inside and face serious consequences for being out on the flower box at this hour.
We were discussing the light in great detail when another one came across the sky in the same fashion. It made the same trip, then did a gentle slalom before slingshotting out into space. We were speechless. I still recall it vividly, even thirty years later. I spoke to Tammi five or six years ago and she recalled it with equal detail. We had no doubt that we had seen something that was not of this world. It was a shared experience that will always bond us as friends.
And I think it’s pretty friggin’ cool that my daughter saw one, too. That will be one less thing that she will be able to throw in the “Dad’s just crazy” bucket.