by Jeff Oaks

UFOs were all the rage in the 70s, I remember. As were ghosts, witches, and the idea that ancient cultures were about to reappear and jump start a new age. There were powers in the earth we weren’t tapping into, those latter three said. There were shamanic, ecstatic, artistic, and physical promises of peace, an end to war, a new way of seeing and knowing others and one’s real self. UFOs, however, were different. They were scientific, built of metal and subtle electricities. The aliens would arrive from above, speak in music, be noseless, mouthless, sexless, all one pale color, all eyes and touch, and for all that metal, as gentle as curious children. If they were, that is, like the movie versions from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which my mother and I loved. UFOs replaced angels and all that hypocritical religious claptrap we both hated. We prayed to be taken away. We dawdled in abandoned areas. We longed for the adventure which would at last equal our sense of entitlement; if we were going to be burdened with consciousness it had better be able to connect to other consciousnesses, deeper, more sophisticated consciousness. The size of what we knew to be true about the universe demanded we were not alone. Surely someone would notice us, how unhappy we were, how anxious.