Greetings once again from Earth, esteemed colleagues! Greetings most especially to you, Madame Chairwoman.
Was that creepy of me to say it like that? I hope it wasn’t creepy.
Let me just start by saying thank you (thank you!) for letting me stick around so I can continue my quest for knowledge, AKA my quest to avoid Space Prison. I solemnly vow on the life-force of my own mother-being that I will not let you guys down again.
Council Members, you seem like nice, law-abiding public servants, living the squeaky-clean, upper-middle class alien lifestyle. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and guess that none of you have ever been banished to another galaxy because of an unprecedented judicial oversight like I have. So let me be the one to tell you that it’s not easy adjusting to life on a new planet.
Because getting hyper-transported directly from Space Court to Earth isn’t disorienting enough, the tiny, squishy essence-of-being, containing all of my previously acquired memories, beliefs, and unquantifiable me-ness, had to be supplanted into the brainparts of a freshly-born babyhuman. My self-awareness remained intact, but an understanding of my environment had to be developed along with motor skills and the ability to communicate. The process took years, and was basically really confusing and inconvenient. There were tears, public meltdowns, and lots of decapitated pacifiers and sitting around in my own poop, which is super-demoralizing when you’re self-aware.
On the playground I discovered I could fool the young humans into thinking I was one of them even though I had two giant antennas sticking out of my head. I’ve never been able to figure out if my antennas are invisible to humans or if they’re all just too polite to say anything about them. Either way literally nobody has ever pointed out to me that I have antennas so I figure it’s a nonissue.
Antenna-visibility or not, the humans did not seem to obviously detect that I was a space alien, which was good, but I knew I was a space alien, which was bad, because a big part of me was always scared they would see through my carefully constructed facade. I looked like a human, and did the human stuff, but still felt different because, once again, Council Members, it’s WEIRD to have REAL relationships with people knowing the whole time that you are an imposter sent from space to spy on them. It’s psychologically cruel and unusual punishment, friends! My existence was a fraud; my identity, as I had come to accept it, was less substantial than an ultra-fine nanoparticle.
I always felt super guilty for deceiving humans, most especially the ones who took care of me and gave me the food, attention, and sometimes the gift cards, most specifically my earth parents and their actual human offspring, to whom I am supposedly “genetically linked.” I felt like I was lying to them the whole entire time! And lying also to my teachers, friends, coworkers, and all those ladies at the gym I used to go to.
The Guilty Feeling led to strong Feelings of Paranoia when I discovered that I was emotionally vulnerable to the humans in ways I did not anticipate. They made me care about them, and also they could hurt me. “This is NOT what I involuntarily signed up for,” I thought, “I was just gonna come here, lay low, and observe them with the measured practicality of a cool lady alien scientist, not become entwined on all kinds of weird levels with my test subjects!!” This was some complicated bullshit and I wanted out. But I was sworn to my duty and so marched on bravely.
The problem was usually that I did not know how to approach the humans correctly and would come on too strong, like when I told the guy handing out free chicken samples at the food court that he was my mall bestie. I was being sincere; he looked friendly and had chicken! But my mall bestie was like “whoa.” He did not understand that my instinct was to say things immediately with my mouthparts instead of consulting my brainparts first to hear how dumb it will sound.
So naturally, I decided to start carefully monitoring every single thing I said instead of just saying stuff willy-nilly, and that had its own set of weird consequences because by the time you figure out if what you’re going to say is relevant, factual, funny, or appropriate, the moment has already passed and saying your thing will be awkward and ill-timed. Speaking as a human, sometimes we overthink the crap out of things that have like, no merit whatsoever.
My point, Council Members, is that not every interaction goes according to plan. We’re not always cool, smart, and hilarious.
But hope is not lost! Instead of letting ourselves get tripped-up over a botched first impression or an awkwardly long pause, we just need to recalibrate our approach, and then keep on going. Keep on relentlessly being ourselves, even when “being yourself” is the last thing we want because what we want is to crawl into a hole and die of embarrassment. Because honestly, that creepy weirdo thing we just said/did probably doesn’t matter much in the long run. It takes ongoing practice to learn exactly how much worrying and second-guessing, if any, should be applied to any given situation. As a human, the fewest amount of fucks you can give about the stupid stuff, the better. Nothing is worth torturing yourself over.
And since they’re not that close to unlocking the secrets of time travel, worrying for the humans is pointless anyway. They just have to live with their mistakes and try not to keep making them.
I will bid you farewell now, Council Members, as my battery is really low for some reason.
Until next transmission, PEACE AND PROSPERITY UNTO YOU! IN THE NAME OF RESEARCH I SALUTE YOU!
L is a space alien conducting research on human behavior for an organization of highly secretive intergalactic watchdogs while trying to be cool about things and blend in with her surroundings. On Earth she greatly enjoys rollercoasters and tiny fried foods, but greatly dislikes humidity and overdraft fees. She has never committed any crimes of any kind.
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