The Arrival

By Miriam Ahmad Gawel

 

Dearest reader,

 

I never want to go back to Earth. Furthermore, I highly suggest you never visit it either.

 

I still remember the first – and final – time I visited the planet. I had been so excited, after studying humankind for years, to finally see the fabled, the famous, the unprecedented: Earth. That fateful day, in the Earth-year of 2015, I made my debut as the first extraterrestrial to walk amongst humans.

 

Andhow I was treated?!? I am still in shock. It is still difficult for me to discuss it, but, for history’s sake, I will recount the tale.

 

After hundreds of years analyzing, practicing, and studying the planet, I was ready to go to Earth. I knew its different languages better than my own, knew the social do’s and don’t’s, and could participate in a political debate with a solid 99% chance of winning. I was ready for a life-changing experience.

 

Landing on the planet was surreal. Similar to the pictures and films I’d seen, but of course, undoubtedly better! The colour spectrum, though limited, was vibrant. The ground was soft, the breeze was cooling, and the smell was refreshing. I was left breathless and speechless, and I could not wait to behold the more urban reaches of the globe.

 

Alas, in the very first city I visited, I was nearly trampled to death. Nobody looked where they were going! Their widespread eyes never left the glowing, menacing screens of the minuscule devices they clutched in their hands. Everyone had one and everyone was… glued to them. When I tried talking to a young female, she seemed alarmed and aghast that I was communicating with her. To boot, I had no idea what she was saying.

 

I had inquired, “Greetings, fair lady. May I ask you how you fare this fine day?” Perfectly normal. Very polite and very sophisticated. I was proud of myself. This lady did not respond, however, so I tried again.

 

“Miss, hello, are you hearing me? I wish to ask you how you are!”

 

At this she looked up, looked around and when she saw me she howled! Never had I heard such a loud, obnoxious sound.

 

“Oh em jee dubble-yew tee eff?”

 

I have yet to uncover the meaning behind this cryptic combination of sounds. She ran away immediately after her outburst. I tried speaking to an older man after that, only to encounter a similar problem. I approached him more slowly, though I am sure he didn’t notice. He was staring intently at his small, glowing device, his thumbs moving rather violently and hitting its glass surface at varying angles. What an odd practice! I simply had to find out what the object was. I tried speaking slower this second time, as I thought that my English was perhaps too advanced.

 

“Top of the morning to you, good sir. May I ask what you are up to today?” I tapped him gently on the shoulder as I said this, eager to catch his attention. Thankfully, this man did not scream, though he seemed extremely confused. As he looked up, he winced as if his neck hurt, and his eyes rolled oddly as if they were not used to looking up.

 

“Hi…? En em. dubble-yew bee yew?”

 

I was thoroughly confused. I could not decipher what he was saying. Still, I pressed on.

 

“If it is not too much to ask, could you perhaps explain to me what this device is?” I pointed to the thing in his hand. “Everyone seems completely occupied by them.”

 

“Uh… A phone?” Finally. Words I could understand.

 

“A phone, you say? Why, how fascinating! May I take a look?” I reached for the phone only to have his hand slap mine away. He screeched and ran off in the opposite direction. I was perplexed, annoyed, and totally fed up. Again and again I tried to communicate with the people of Earth, only to be ignored, shooed away, or left in a state of confusion. Humans seem to have developed a new way of speaking, and that was by … not speaking. No one talked to one another. Instead, everyone tapped away on these devices.

 

I left Earth hurt. I left Earth disappointed. I left Earth angry. I had grand illusions of the planet and they were crushed mercilessly by humans. Humans and their damnedomnipresent devices. I warn you, dearest reader, to never make the same mistake I made. Do not visit planet Earth, for humanity, in all its supposed grandeur, is nothing but a sham.