Aliens

Sunday morning breakfast time.

Betty and Jack were sitting at the table having their breakfast. They liked this time of the week and especially this time of the day. Their table is by the windows and from where they sit they can see the trees encroaching, Triffid like, on to their block of land.

Green is everywhere and birds can be seen flying through the greenery. Sometimes a Noisy Miner comes to the window and looks under the eaves for a tasty spider. From the radio could be heard the beautiful sound of Mozart’s flute concert. Perhaps it was the best of all possible worlds.

Betty cracked her soft boiled egg and announced it the best soft boiled egg of all possible soft boiled eggs. Jack, not completely happy with the world as it was, looked, of all things, into the TV guide for the night’s program.

“Listen to this,” he tried to get Betty’s attention, “TV 10 shows a movie tonight called ‘Cowboys and Aliens’ “.

“So what?’, asked Betty.

“It is about a spaceship arriving in Arizona in 1873 and some cowboys and natives are the only ones to fight the aliens.”

“Our Aborigines had the same problem with us, aliens from Europe, but were not able to fight us off,” said Betty, “we are still here and propagating like monsters from another planet.”

“I ask myself,” said Jack ignoring Betty’s sarcasm, “whether this is a sci-fi drama or a comedy. It said action!”

“I will not watch such nonsense, “ said Betty as she dipped strips of toast into the still liquid egg yolk.

“But it makes me think….,”

“Does it?” said Betty.

“…what really would have happened if Aliens had arrived in earlier days. We ever only assume that Aliens come now or in the future. But it is possible they came at an earlier time.”

“They would have left straight away when they saw how stupid we humans were,” said Betty.

“They could have inspired us and kicked of the Renaissance or the Enlightenment.”mused Jack.

“Or dropped that apple on Newton!” suggested Betty. “Sure, they must have known more about gravity then us, as they are light years ahead of us.”

“You are not taking it seriously,” said Jack and continued, “Perhaps I could write a science fiction story about it, combine it with a historical event like…. when a king or president had disappeared for a period of time. The Aliens could have kidnapped him and tried to influence him.”

“I think,” Betty stopped him, “something has influenced you my Darling and not for the better.”

“What do you mean? Not for the better?”

“Well, you see something in the paper and go off on a tangent. I would say, eat your egg and toast before it gets cold! The Aliens can wait a bit longer, they had a long trip through outer space and won’t mind an extra minute or two.”

Jack finished his breakfast and when they were clearing the table he suggested they could go for a Sunday drive.

“Now you are talking,” said Betty. She liked getting out of the house on a beautiful sunny day. They could sit at the shore of the ocean and have an ice cream.

Later when they walked through the bush Jack discovered something that looked suspiciously like some strange message on a rock.

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He called Betty and said to her, “Look here, it seems the Aliens left a message for us.”

Betty walked up to him, had a good look and said, “Here we go again.!”

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The Long Weekend

The concourse of Sydney Central Railway Station was a busy place. People were rushing about to or from the trains. They could not wait getting inside the train or away from the draughty station. It was winter and a cold wind blew from the Snowy Mountains. They looked forward to the long Queen’s Birthday weekend. The young Queen had been crowned only that week.

Jack left the refreshment room, where he had a couple of whiskeys to warm himself up and kill some time. He had been waiting for Julia, his secretary and lover for the last two years. The long weekend was a good opportunity to break the routine and have a relaxing weekend in Canberra. His brother Bob called it a ‘naughty weekend’.

Jack thought life in Canberra slow enough not to distract Julia too much from his plans. It was hard enough in Sydney to keep her away from the shops and the night clubs. Jack looked forward to what Julia had to offer and not being dragged through a department store.

As Jack mingled with the crowd, to look for Julia, he felt the urgency in the people. He was a tall man, head and shoulders above the multitude. The flow of the crowd divided around him like the whirling water around a rock. He was dressed in a warm woollen overcoat which made him look more sturdy than he was. His black hat had slightly shifted to his neck revealing his wrinkles on his forehead as he searched his surroundings for a sign of Julia.

‘For Christ’s sake, where is that woman?’ he asked himself. He heard the whistle of the steam locomotive and checked his watch; the Canberra Express was now departing. Belching smoke was pushed by the South Westerly wind into the hall. Jack did not mind, he liked travelling by train and the whole atmosphere created by it. The smell the steam engine produced was just an added flavour. That is why he chose the train and not his old pre-war car to go to Canberra. He had a new FJ Holden on order but the dealer made excuses for not being able to deliver it. Julia had pressured him for month to get a new car. Naturally, this would impress her female friends.

Jack spotted her walking through the archway. She walked in her self assured way, dressed in the latest travel outfit and wearing a small hat with a certain pertness. Seeing her gave Jack a boost.. With a handbag in one hand and a small travel bag in the other she strode towards the refreshment room where they had agreed to meet.

Jack flicked his cigarette, he had just lit, to the ground and with a few steps intercepted her.

‘Julia. Were where you?’ he asked , ‘The train is gone.’ Jack took the travel bag off her.

‘And whose fault is this? Not mine.’ It never is, Jack thought.

‘Honestly, Julia, I waited for hours…,’ he exaggerated.

‘You know there’d be a reason.’

Jack felt his temper rising. They walked slowly, not taking any notice of the peak hour crowd.

‘Obviously, there is a reason. But how do I know what you come up with today.’

‘There is no need to be belligerent.’

‘Belligerent? I did not know I was belligerent. I thought I was showing concern. Does it seem strange to you that I might be concerned…?’

‘Concerned, you concerned? I tell you what you are concerned about: missing out getting me into the cot in that boring Canberra. What else is Canberra good for. The politician do it all the time.’ She took a breather and looked at the other travellers turning the concourse into a beehive.

‘If you have to know,’ Julia said with a defiant voice. ‘The stupid taxi driver got stuck behind a tram. Any way, I’m here now. Where is the train?’

‘I told you the train is gone.’ Jack said, now somewhat subdued after her broadside.

‘We have to wait for the next train that goes in two hours time.’

‘You can do that on your own, mate. I’m going home.’

‘What about us?’ asked Jack alarmed with a hint of panic in his voice.

‘There is no us. There is only your prick itching for action!’

Jack did not believe he heard right. ‘If this is so, you don’t need to turn up for work on Tuesday. You’re fired!’ Jack waved his arm and nearly knocked over a paper boy who screamed the latest headline.

‘I thought you might say that,’ Julia said, grabbed her travel bag out of Jack’s hand and added, ‘I will work for an American company, involving travel to the States. It is much better than working in your crummy office and being touched up by the lecherous boss. Good bye and good riddance.’

With this Julia swung around and walked away, disappearing into the crowd. Jack was dumb founded but could not help looking at her long legs on high heels. The seams of her stockings were running up in a perfect straight line. He slowly shook his head as if to get rid of an image in his mind. He had lost a good secretary, and a good lover, in the middle of the Sydney Central crowd.

 

‘You can’t win them all,’ he mumbled to himself, lit another cigarette and walked out of the station into the blistering wind. Shivering.

 

Happy Birthday Aunty Uta

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AuntyUta today

Today is an important date.  Not only is it the Equinox but also my lovely wife’s birthday. We had a lot to remember.  Many of her  birthdays we have celebrated together.  The most memorable was her 21st. That is how she looked then.

Easy to fall in love with

Easy to fall in love with

On the day in question in 1955 we had agreed to meet at her place. Uta had rented the tiniest of rooms in a fourth floor  apartment When I arrived at the agreed time and I wanted to climb up the stairs her land lady came down and told me that Uta had gone out to do some last minute shopping and there was no need to go up the full flight of stairs. But, she left it open that Fäulein Spickermann could have been come back unnoticed. I climbed the full flight of stairs and knocked on the door. Nothing happened. Another knock – still nothing. The land lady must have been right Fäulein was be still out.

I walked downstairs and waited in the cool entrance hall as it was a rather warm late summer’s day. I waited and waited. All sorts of ideas and theories went through my head.  Has she dropped me in this rather cruel way. No, not my darling Uta.  What was I to think? Has anything happened to her on her way to the shops? The shops were not that far and she should have been back  a long time.

Young people today have no idea how life was in those day without a mobile. People were not easily contactable. Any misunderstanding can quickly be resolved nowadays by  SMS or a phone call. We did not have that luxury  then. The brain had a free reign to invent the most outrageous scenarios. After almost two hours of waiting I was close to call it quits when Uta suddenly appeared, with a beaming face,  coming down the stairs.  What a relief. We were both happy to see each other.

Uta had to to go a phone booth to call her aunt who wanted to see her too for her birthday. After the phone call we went to another suburb where we met her aunty and her cousin. All in all the day ended well. But sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I had given up waiting. I could have rung her another day  at work to clear things up or be disappointed and forget about this “unreliable” girl who stood me up.

Fourteen months later we got married and we are still together to tell the tale.

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The young couple February 1957

I’m still in love with Uta and would still wait any number of hours for her as the reward is in the being  together.

Still happy together

Still happy together

Reflections

A human life is an exception in the big scheme of things.

It is a soap bubble of consciousness in the ocean of eternity.

Some bubbles shimmer more than others. Some bubbles rise to be seen, some fall  to the ground and burst.

It  depends very much on what we do with our lives. If we have talents we can bring them to blossom.  Creative people are like that. They can “see” certain aspects of the world and make them “experienceable” to others.

A sculpturer looks at a block of lime stone and sees that  it contains the likeness of a goddess.

A composer hears, standing at the shore of an ocean,  that moment in eternity and can recreate it for an audience  in a concert hall.  And if he unites his creativity with the voice of a soprano we will be able to experience the pain of a  love lost.

The painter, when standing before the empty canvass with his brush at the ready, knows what moment in reality, or in his romantic mind, he wants to paint.

An instrument maker can make an instrument which makes a sound that has never been heard before, but nevertheless has been waiting since creation to come out.

So, creation has not begun with the Big Bang. It was contained in the Singularity the scientists are talking about and it is continuing into the future.

But for the moment, we are the bubbles of the present time. Others have been before us and others will follow us. What unites us all is not only the DNA but also the consciousness then and now.

Fathers can be Philosophers too

In Australia we had Father’s Day last Sunday. It is an occasion when the offspring turns up and give thanks for being their father. This is a nice gesture of love and well appreciated. Often they carry gifts which fathers declare not being necessary but are nonetheless gracefully accepted.

My youngest daughter is now the same age as my mother was, when I was born. This coincidence came into focus to me today, as I was reading in the magazine, she had given me as a Father’s Day gift. I realised, that my daughter thinks of me differently from what my parents thought of me.

Me as a three year old

Me as a three year old

 

 

In case you wonder, the gift was a magazine, “NewPhilosoper” (http://www.newphilosopher.com/ ).

 

I started to read and found it very interesting. But then a question arose in my mind? How come my parents thought there wasn’t any hope for me but my daughter, more than seventy years later, thought I would understand anything philosophical? I was always interested in the big questions that come up during our short stay on this earth and I think one can see this in my face at three. I welcomed the world and its complications. I always listened to adults talking (Which my mother didn’t like and called “snooping or nosey”) because I wanted to find out things. Why would you call a bright eyed, inquiring kid names?

A child needs love, but what he or she needs even more is affirmation. If the affirmation is there the child feels loved too. I think with her gift my daughter gave me some affirmation that she sees in me more than the father she loves.

Older and wiser

Older and wiser

 

 

That is me now. Not quite the philosopher but not immune to philosophical questions. The headline title of the magazine is called, “WAKE UP’. Perhaps, the message for me is to wake up.

 

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