I could never quite figure out if my mother was lying when she told me, at quite a young age, that she had found me at the bottom of the cabbage patch.
Plausible, I remember thinking, even though I had absolutely no fondness for cabbages and couldn’t work out why anybody should want to leave a baby there.
The story soon unravelled somewhat and I learned that I had been left there because I was an alien sent from outer space to gather information about the human race.
This didn’t strike me as odd at all, though it probably should have.I had a double crown, my second toe was almost certainly bigger than my big toe and I spoke my own language more or less until way beyond the point I should have been speaking English.
I don’t know how this language of mine evolved but it was apparent the only person who could translate it was my brother.
No one else.
The failure to communicate was soon as absolved when, as a young fella, I was in the car and had my hand sat on which rather hurt.
After squawking in my peculiar dialect and not getting anywhere I mustered all the calm I could and spoke.“You don’t understand me,” I said.
And for the first time ever, they did.
This didn’t put an end to the little inside joke of my inter-stellar origins and for many years mum and I spoke of my other-world and when I might be returning. I think a small part of her just wanted me out of the bloody house.
When I was just on the cusp of losing the sheer joy of an imagination unrestrained by the awareness of being a ‘grown-up’ I would still pretend that I had arrived from Alpha-Beta-Gluon or some such other planet and was tasked with reporting back on how human beings interacted.
I took my job very seriously and radioed back home through my invisible ear piece.“Humans are very odd. They like tomatoes but not tomato sauce. Hate cream but will eat ice cream. They tell you to grow up when they’re angry, even though they wish they never had. Very odd indeed. It’s 10.24am.”
I made my daily status updates a regular feature of my life and it made me watch daily life almost as if I was never meant to be a part of it. The good scientist, after all, must observe but never interact.
It made me fascinated by the otherwise humdrum nature of the way we go about doing things, the way we speak to each other. It made me curious of motives, of people and why they did the things they did. My inquisitive eye was important, you’ll note, because my alien race were counting on my accurate feedback.
“Sometimes humans say thank you when they do not mean it. I think they call it sarcasm. Generally, if they say they are OK something is horribly wrong. They treat animals nicer than they treat each other. Very odd indeed. It’s 7.10pm.”
One day I told myself once and for all that, obviously, I had never descended from the stars on a super secret spy mission. This much was true.
But I never could shake the feeling that people were very odd indeed.
We just didn’t notice it all that often because we were too busy crafting our idiosyncracies.
What a strange lot we are.