Eons ago at a motel in California, my five-year-old self left two very tired parents in their room and set off to explore. My parents’ exhaustion now seems understandable to me. Who wouldn’t frazzle while traveling cross-country with two contrary teenagers and one youngster who ceaselessly asked questions?
So I was on my own on a clear, sunny afternoon. I surveyed the area—a playground for motel guests, a neighborhood of houses in the distance, more families checking in to their rooms, the symmetry of the motel exterior, the sameness of every room altered only by the numbers on the doors. Nothing remotely interesting to me. In fact, the afternoon was looking so bleak I wish I hadn’t left my parents. And then a flash caught my eye.
The vehicle came closer to the motel and glided slowly overhead. I HAD to share this with somebody! I raced back to the motel room, threw open the door, and burst in with my news. But before I got the whole story out, I realized that the people listening to me were NOT my parents. I was in the wrong room—so embarrassed I never wanted to leave my parents again (assuming I’d be able to find them). By the time I got back to them, my humiliation far outweighed my cosmic experience and I couldn’t wait to get on the road again. I was ready to leave this dismal place in the dust.
Of course, between my UFO tale and my accidental exuberance with strangers, my parents enjoyed a good laugh at my expense. But I know what I saw.
Years on, my UFO encounter well behind me and never mentioned again, I was trying to verify something I was editing. A newspaper article led me to a book chronicling unexplained occurrences. I found more than I’d anticipated.
Several pages of one chapter were devoted to the same shiny, colorful vehicle I saw on my first family vacation. The descriptions matched mine, the vicinity was the same, the time of year synced as well.
Hmmm. Other people saw it? You mean I wasn’t suffering from heatstroke or an overactive imagination? Cool. I could reshuffle my brain a bit and recategorize this memory without shame.
Yup. I was abducted by aliens.
[Photos by N J. Jackson (palms at top) and NASA.]