Driving machines

Not long after I came here, I learnt to drive.  It took me three attempts before I passed the driving test.

I’m an anxious driver, and I don’t drive very often because of it.  I’m worried that I’m going to make a mistake, to cause an accident, or have an accident.  Unfortunately, being nervous behind the wheel makes you more likely to actually have the accident you’re worried about, which in turn makes you more nervous.  I think the human expression for this is a vicious cycle.

I’ve always been quite an anxious being, but since coming to Earth, it has been much greater. There’s an awful lot of things here that can induce anxiety.

To be honest, I’m still surprised that I passed the test at all.  Not because I think I am a bad driver, but because driving is a pretty big skill to have; it allows you to go so many more places on the planet (providing there are roads to get there.  Unless you have a time machine upgraded in the 21st Century, in which case, you don’t need roads* ), and thus, it surprises me that I was able to obtain the skill.

Recently though, I have been expanding my driving radius and venturing further afield.  This has been an exciting process, but also a scary one.  Sometimes I have a good trip, which boosts my confidence and sets me up well for the next outing.  And sometimes I have a not so good trip, marred with errors and mistakes, which sets me up badly for the next outing.
I find it easy to dwell on the bad things that occurred whilst driving, and tend to forget the good things.  I know this is a negative way of thinking, and not conducive to progress, and thus, I need to amend that.

Last week, on one of the not so good driving days, I stalled the car twice.  I never normally stall the car at all, so this put me in a negative, put-down state straight away.

When leaving a car park, I checked both ways when turning a corner, and another car honked loudly at me.  I don’t know where that car was when I first looked, but I definitely didn’t see it.  This unsettled me a lot; what if I didn’t see a car when on the main roads?  That could be much more dangerous than in a car park.

Still, I had to get back home, so I did my best to remain composed and not get worked up if I made a bit of mistake, and you know what?  I heard three other car honks to other drivers somewhere on the nearby roads as I was on my return journey, and that made me feel better.
It’s only human to make mistakes, and by making them, I am no different than the residents of this planet.

So, instead of worrying about my mistakes and not wanting to go out again in case I made another, I learnt from them.  I learnt that I need to be a bit more observant at times; I learnt that sometimes you’ll have a bad day, and sometimes a good;  I learnt that it’s best to learn from the bad, but remember the good.  And I learnt that I have one more similarity to Earthlings, and that’s that we all make mistakes.

 

* This was a reference to the 1980s film Back to the Future.  I’m learning about pop culture and I’ve been told that quoting lines from popular movies is something that humans do for fun.

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Seasons of wonder

Seasons are a nice thing, aren’t they?  You can pick a favourite, and have one you grumble about.

Spring is a good one.  It’s Spring where I live right now.  In the space of just a few weeks it’s gone from still looking and feeling like Winter, to hearing lots more birds, seeing the first buds coming on trees, and there are lots of daffodils and crocuses about, (or should that be croci?  this spell checker is putting a wiggly red line under croci, so I think it likes crocuses better.)

The last few days have been warm.  I’m not used to hot weather.  Where I lived on my planet, it was usually cold, so I’m used to wearing layers and insulated garments.  Still, today was nice; warm but still cool.

I saw several pink blossom trees in full bloom.  They are so beautiful.  It’s a shame they don’t last long.  Some of the most beautiful things on this planet are with us for only a short time.  That’s why it’s important to appreciate them while they are there.
I would have taken a static image, a photograph, you call them, but I did not have a device with me capable of taking one.  I find digital representations of nature can never do justice to their real world counterparts anyway.  The beauty must be captured with the eye and held in the memory of its observer.

I saw lots of bumblebees.  I find them jolly little insects; large, round and tubby little things, buzzing around, getting on with their own business.
One of them decided to go down a drain on the street.  I don’t know why – maybe it thought there was a subterranean flower garden down there.  I watched it disappear into the dark and I lost sight of it as it flew lower and into some wet, brown leaves.  I was worried that it had come to harm, but a moment later it flew back out – skillfully positioning itself between the bars of the drain grid, and ascending back into the sunshine.

I saw a butterfly the other day; a red admiral, I believe it has been named.  Butterflies are beautiful too: delicate and quiet.

While I’m not looking forward to the hotter weather on it’s way, now that Spring is here, I do like the colour and life that returns to the planet (Northern hemisphere).  Each day shows us something new that has emerged; a flower that had popped up overnight; a pigeon that has begun to make its nest; a warmness to that previously chilly breeze.

Isn’t nature amazing?  I hope all humans appreciate and are in awe of it, as if they too are an alien savouring the wonders of a world they had only just begun to explore.

You can be free with a dog

Today I was fortunate enough to be looking after a friend’s canine.
I’m a big fan of animals; they’re a lot less complicated than humans, and a lot easier to understand, if you ask me.

When I’m normally out for a walk on my own, I follow normal human behaviour for that activity.  I stroll, I look about, I might touch a branch or look at the scenery in the distance.  All very normal.
The things that I would like to add to my walk, that is normal on my home planet, is to put my arms in the air and wave them about in the warm Spring air.  Squat down beside a tree and have a good ol’ look at its lines and textures.  Run wildly for several metres, then stop and resume walking at a normal pace.  Move my head along prickly branches that rest just above my head height, so they tickle my head- that sort of thing.

Now of course, there’s no official rule or law that forbids doing any of these things.  But I’ve learnt from experience, and from human friends, that these are more of those things that look weird.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with looking weird though.  If I see someone doing something ‘weird’, it makes me smile.  It makes me happy that there are others like me – hey, maybe they’re aliens too, or maybe they are just carefree humans.

Anyway, what about the dog mentioned at the start?  Yes, well, I was walking the dog, and I was saying things to him.  I was squatting down and showing him twigs; I was doing the formally mentioned ‘wild run’ and he was running beside me.  I was going between bushes and walking backwards, and generally having a jolly old time.

What I noticed was that nobody stared.  Nobody seemed to bother that there was a person doing things that, when I’d previously done similar things on my own, they’d considered strange or had surprised or puzzled them.  And this was all thanks to the dog.

Now, I’d imagine you could be even more free from judgement if you were with a small child.  I bet you could do all sorts of madcap things with a little human in tow, and not have strangers giving you peculiar looks.

So, I’ll end on another question:  why don’t humans judge or bother about certain things when you are with an animal or child, but they do when you are alone?  What’s really the difference?
If something is fun to do with a creature or infant, then surely it will probably be fun to do alone too?

People inside are not people outside

Humans are strange.  You’re all different; you look different to one another, you have different hobbies, different like and dislikes, different opinions, thoughts and views.  And yet, you all have this shell that you go outside with and wear when interacting with strangers.  Actually, not all of you do.  Some of you don’t wear a shell at all, and I get excited when I see this because shells are not something we wear on my planet.

To explain what I call shells:  they are the encasings that a lot of humans wear in public, in order to make themselves seem ‘normal’.   To conform to a standard of what a human being is like when interacting with another human that they do not know.

I see this is supermarkets and in offices.  Casual greetings or formal handshakes, talks about the current weather system overhead, or what the external temperature is going to be for the rest of the week.  No signs of personalisation, more like automatons preset with appropriate talking points and responses.

The other day, I was returning some items to a store.  Yet again, the amount of choice of things available for purchase in human establishments for object procuration had got the better of me and I had more items than I could carry from the car in one trip.  I said as much to the young woman behind the counter, telling her how I’d have to leave the things there for a moment while I returned swiftly to the car to collect the other items.  I told of my indecision when buying the items and made a joke about needing to buy the whole shop.

Well, my lively conversation seem to startle the poor thing, producing no facial expression that I could deduce as acknowledgement, before she settled into the automated response of issuing the refunds.
Now, not all humans are like this, but I have noticed that there is a large amount that are.  They don’t like to come out of their shell.  Do they feel safer inside it?  Protected?
I know one thing, and that is, as a non shell person, the shell people make you feel like you are being far too open and flamboyant, far too wacky and kooky.  At least, that’s how they make me feel.  They also confuse me because I question “is this what a human should be like?  Am I acting wrong?”
I know the answer is no, because I have seen humans with no shells, or thinner shells on, so I know that it is not me, it’s just a widespread social convention.

I’m very glad about that, because I really wouldn’t want to wear a shell.  But really, it makes me a bit sad that these shells exist.  I want to see what’s under them; that’s where the real interest lies.  That’s where the true person exists.  And by wearing these shells, the shell people make others retreat into theirs, or feel like the should be wearing one.

But no – don’t you put on that plain, boring, unoriginal shell.  Be free.  Be yourself.  That’s the most amazing thing you can be.

Why can’t I? Mark 2.

Continuing from the tree/car incident, I’d like to talk about more things that I’ve been told are not the social norm for humans to do, but I want to.

Things apparently unacceptable/frowned upon/looks weird in public:

  • Talking to myself
  • Humming
  • Doing a funny walk
  • Skipping if you’re not a child
  • Staring up at the sky
  • Wearing a handkerchief on your head if it’s cold and you don’t have a hat
  • Making funny noises

Lots more that I can’t think of

—To which I again ask, “Why not?”

Why can’t I?

Why can’t I do so many things?  Or should I say, why am I not supposed to?

The other day, I saw something up in a tree, but I couldn’t tell what it was.  I didn’t have any binoculars with me, so I wanted to stand on the roof of my car to get a better look.
But no, my human friend Jack tells me that I can’t do that.  “Why not?”  I ask him.
“You can’t climb up on your car in a car lot, it looks weird.” He says.

<So, in order to not embarrass Jack, I didn’t do it.  But later I asked him further what was weird about it, and he said “it’s just not something people do.”

I don’t understand this.  Why wouldn’ you stand on something higher than the ground, in order to see something higher up?  People climb up ladders all the time.  I think the issue was the climbing up on a car, but what’s wrong with that?  It was my car, I’m not risking damage to someone else’s, so why not?

Now I’ll never know what the thing in the tree was.  Thanks Jack!

Home on Earth

I live in a medium sized apartment, or flat, and I’m currently in the process of decorating it. This is no easy task, I have discovered.  There is so much choice out there.  Where do I start?  The walls of my lounge, or living room if you prefer, which I don’t-  I live in all of the rooms, not just one of them.  The name ‘Living Room’ makes me think that there must also be Dead Rooms.  Do you have these?  I hope not.  They sound horrible.

Anyway, my decorating.  Paint – that’s what I’m looking at.  But I like lots of different colours – which one should I choose?  And how am I supposed to know if I like the colour based on a tiny little square that they have in the booklets and on the pots?

I’ve bought some of those tester pots but that hasn’t helped.  All it’s done has made me more confused and now I have large squares of red and purple paint all over my wall. What do I do with those?  Do I sand off the paint?  Paint over it with white? Will I still see the squares underneath?

When I first started to get into the art of decorating your home, it was fun, there was so much possibility, so may ways to personalise the space.  But now I hate it.  All I can think about is paint.  Green paint, blue paint, orange paint.  I’m sick of thinking about paint but until I pick a colour the walls seem to be looking at me and whispering “paint me.”  Is this normal?  Do humans go through this too?

Why am I obsessing over something as trivial as a pigmented fluid smeared over a vertical surface?

I bet this is why on my planet we just keep everything its natural colour.

Introduction

Hello again.

Blogging, that’s a funny word isn’t it, I thought I’d try it out.

A bit about me, I suppose.  My name is Alex, and as the title suggests, I am an anxious alien.  I won’t go into details about my home planet, that’s all a bit too out-there, but I’ve been living here, on Earth, for just over a year now.

To say it’s been different would be an understatement, but I’m fitting in ok.  I have lots of resources to tell what is the norm for humans: behaviour and all that, and so far I reckon I’m blending in really well.  I mean, no one has called me out or pointed at me and shouted “ALIEN!” so I think I’m doing great.

I’m writing on this blog about my perspectives of Earth, from an alien’s eye view.  There are lots of things going on on this green and blue planet, sometimes it feels quite overwhelming.

Anyway, I feel like I’m rambling now so I’ll finish here, I think.

Over.

Greetings

Hello there.

I’m fairly new to Earth and I’m finding the planet and its people to be both wonderful and terrifying, all at the same time.

I’m new to blogging, but I hear Earthlings talking about it all the time, and so, I thought I’d try it out.

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