Frank And The Aliens
While perusing the blu-ray isle at Fry’s this past Saturday I heard a tiny voice behind me say, “Do you mind if I ask you a couple of questions about blu-rays?” Unfortunately for me I had to reply in a positive way, “Sure!”. Turning around I found the wavering voice belonging to a man in his late forties, well dressed in a sweater and slacks, carrying several packs of empty DVD cases. He asked if I noticed a difference between blu-ray and standard DVD. He asked if I was upgrading movies in my collection to this new format. He asked about television resolution and speaker systems.
Then he asked me if I believed in aliens.
Just like that he asked me. Out of the blue. Do I believe in Aliens?
I quickly learned that his name was Frank, and that he thought secret military transport tunnels crisscrossed underneath the entirety of the United States. Frank claimed that this was how Cheney made good his escape to a fortified underground bunker during 9/11, but that they can’t make these tunnels in California “because of the earthquake fault lines.” Frank also claimed to have intimate, first-hand knowledge of Area 51, and that the main operations had been moved to a hidden location deep in the Canadian interior. Apparently, Aurora was old news, and that a new “invisible” aircraft had already been developed to take its place. This knowledge was, of course, passed on to him during closed door meetings he had with some of the “top brass” while serving as a medic in the Navy some ten years back.
And so I stood there like an idiot, blu-rays in hand, listening intently for any sign of a verbal pause from Frank so I could excuse myself from the conversation, but he continued on with barely a breath. The conversation morphed into a giant run-on sentence. Frank’s words were bullets, and I was the target.
He asked if I knew about Tesla, and how big corporations squashed innovation in favor of old technology to keep the money rolling in. Frank lamented in great detail on Wernher von Braun, and did I know that satellites are spying on us this…very…second? ”If Google has satellites capable of identifying people in their backyards, imagine what the military possesses!”
Frank also wanted to know if I knew that his wife has a glass eye. I didn’t quite know how to respond to this question.
I finally had to interrupt him, asking if he had visited any number of online web sites dealing with this sort of thing. Finally, I faked a concerned look at my watch and told him that I unfortunately had to take off.
We shook hands and parted ways. Frank headed for the registers and I made my way to the back of the store just to open up some space between us. I didn’t want to chance another encounter with him in the parking lot.
I wondered what makes somebody open up to a complete stranger about aliens, ufos, and secret military bases. Is it loneliness, as Karin pointed out to me, or do I just look like the approachable sort to conspiracy theorists? I’d like to think that there is some sort of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, but this compulsion to spew obsessively memorized “facts” to any total stranger too weak (or in my case, to be rude because I find it difficult to simply dismiss people) to stand up and walk away is a bit too much for me.
Have you ever had one of these encounters?