When is it too early to ask your new boss about the existence of aliens? Day two, probably.
So we’re out on a windmill run. The station owner might need a hand pulling a windmill (or is it pulling a bore? Not sure….) As he climbs the precarious ladder up the side of this rusty structure he points to the sky.
“D’ya see that?”
Cue the super creepy X-Files theme. I look up. Hovering directly above us is a glistening light, albeit very faint, but it’s definitely there.
“Could it be Venus?” I ask, knowing that Venus shines pretty brightly out here.
“Nah” he replies. “Not Venus. She’s out East. Ya know. Thatta way.” He points in the direction that must be East, as if I’m a little bit simple.
Then, before I know it, my own weirdness is permeating of me like a summer sweat so pungent I want to gag.
“I bet its aliens then. I’ve heard that, like, 80% of all alien sightings are in the outback.”
Stinkbomb of weirdness unleashed. My boss can smell it. I know he can. Had I not rocked up with enviro-bags full of organic coffee, fair trade green teas, roasted chickpeas, chia seeds, misos and tofu I might have been off the hook. Instead I’m now being stared at as if I am the extraterrestrial. I feel like I may as well start sprouting a few armpit hairs and burn my bra.
“Aliens eh?” He ponders, chewing it over in his mind like the end of a stalk, a sly grin spreading across his face.
“Uhm, ha-have you ever seen a UFO?” – Jeez, why can’t I just stop talking!
“Nah, not me. Some guys down the road reckon they’ve seen a few things. I ‘aven’t.” As if only weirdos and the socially inept have managed such a feat.
Well, at least now we’re discussing it, and I’m not blabbering myself in to a deeper pit to wallow in.
“Do you think they exist?”
He ponders it some more, mulling it over.
He stares directly in my eyes as he answers. “The universe is pretty big. It would be crazy to think that this is the only planet with life on it.”
I can finally exhale. And change the subject. And resign myself to the fact that, on day two, I have established my station persona – the strange greeny chick from the city who’s out here hunting aliens and whispering to animals. Super.
This article has been contributed anonymously under the pen name “Howgirl Cowgirl”.