@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
I Just Got Here… And WTF??!!
Sometimes, I like to play this game. The game goes like this: an Alien has just arrived from another dimension. It finds me as a companion and a source for information– because of it’s higher intelligence, it already knows that I’ve seen glimpses of another side, so I won’t (completely) freak out, and also it will feel safe with me that I won’t do it any harm. I know this because I happen to be an unofficial tour guide for tourists that visit Manhattan from all over the world—they find me and entrust me with directions and sometimes watching their kids while they use the bathroom to the point where even I’m like, “my god, am I the least threatening looking person on planet Earth? Sure, I’m not going to hurt you, and have proven to only on occasion be a danger to myself, but I am borderline certifiable despite my glasses on my cute sort of mousy like face.”
Now, I’m faced with a big task of sort of providing this being with certain information about Earth and it’s many creatures. I’ll assume that since it’s capable of inter-dimensional/intergalactic travel, it has far more knowledge of astrophysics than even the smartest Earthling, let alone myself, who basically just parrots whatever Neil DeGrasse Tyson says with an elementary understanding. See, I’d like to keep my new alien friend from watching the 24 hour news cycle initially since that’s a wasteland of humanity at it’s worst and the media getting their money and power from your fear. And while the history channel is filled with lots of important information, it’s also a recorded proof of our atrocities as much as our accomplishments. Not that I’m trying to cover it up. This isn’t a first date and I’m not trying to fuck this alien so I’m not really trying to impress it… I do, however, feel some liability to install some wonder that I experience on this earth from time to time.
So, first thing is first. We’d watch both Plant Earth and Planet Earth II, narrated by the wonderful David Attenborough, both because it gives you a general feel of what is going on, the horror and beauty of nature on the third planet, but also because I love watching those documentaries so much. Chances are, if you’re a good friend of mine, we’ve watched them together and I become entrenched in the majesty of it.
The next thing I would want to watch with said other being friend would be my favorite sitcom and litmus test for intelligence and humor, “Seinfeld.” Of course, this would be a bad option because it’s unlikely the creature would have a firm grasp on the genius of sarcasm at this point. Perhaps I’d point it to one of Colin Quinn’s specials like, “Long Story Short” or “New York Story,” but I assume this would go over an inter-dimensional being’s head so I’d probably say, “I guess you had to be there to learn our history first,” and put on “Rick and Morty” to see how those brilliant jokes hold up with a real dimension traveler.
Provided I could disguise the being (in the game, the being is able to transform into a human body, so it can easily blend in), we’d go to the Museum of Natural History. Kind of a hack move, I’ll admit, but I mean, I live right here and it’s an amazing museum with a tremendous amount of learning resources. Additionally, on our way to the museum, the thing would get a full on experience of human metropolis life at it’s best and worst.
Explaining religion would be hard because I’d imagine a higher being either has some insight as to what the fuck is going on or is going to be like, “wait, you guys don’t know anything so you made up a bunch of stuff and then fight over who’s made up story is real based on no facts or science whatsoever?” YES! And we’ve been doing it for a long time!!!!!!!!! And sometimes we kill each other over it!!!!!!!!!! But we should totally watch the Pixar movie, “Coco,” I’m telling you it’s a beautiful masterpiece and easily one of the best/most important movies made in the last decade.” (I stand by this and urge all to watch.)
We’d have to get away from New York City. If there’s a way for the being to teleport us, without question, we’d go to Hawaii. But then we’d also go to a bunch of other places. If this is not an option, we’d get in my car and I’d drive out to Eastern Long Island to the beaches I originally fell in love with and associate with home. Out there, where there’s a whole other stupendous universe beneath the water’s surface.
Then, we’d go to a library where I’d have to own up to human history. From the amazing inventions to the creative literature to the wars and hate and destruction. It’s a lot of information to take in in a short amount of time, but the being can read super fast (presumably). If the alien is overwhelmed, I say “me too. I don’t really know how anything works. From the phone in my pocket to the car I drive. Molecules and medicine. Infrastructure and inventions. My intelligence only goes so far. It gives me a lot of anxiety to think about it all.” Anxiety, I’d explain, is a byproduct of fear. If the alien asks if I’m good or bad, I’d have to say neither, though I want to be good. I want to be good, but like most people, I’m in between. If I could ask it a favor, I’d ask it to save the oceans and help us rid our planet of plastic waste. I’d want to cure disease, but having no natural predators, we have to die. We have to die or the planet will and then as a result, we would also all die. If it asks me if I want to know what happens when we die, I’d say, “no, I’ll find out no matter what anyway.”
There’s another game I like to play when I’m depressed. This game goes like this: like a video game, my character is dropped into my body, in my life at this exact time. I have no past. The future, undetermined. I have a backstory, of course. And if you want, you can read about it. But at this moment, it’s the start button. The game has begun. First of all, I am 30, healthy, athletic, pretty. Good odds. Second, I ask, “Lori, is your house in order?” By this I mean, are your bills paid (yes), is your home clean, dishes washed, drawers organized, laundry done (yes, usually). Do you have allies (yes, many). Are your responsibilities awful (no, not usually). Okay… so start the game. Your skills: above average intelligence, though far from genius, good writing skills, decent comedian, okay surfer, overall good shape, puzzle solver, a loyal friend, fun family member. Your weaknesses: depression, anxiety from overthinking, feelings of failure of shortcomings, allergies, just enough money to survive, lonely for companionship, poor sense of smell, IBS, inability to do simple math, easily bored, overwhelmed by the lack of knowledge of how the world works. Character status: fair to midland. Ready player one? The game has begun.
And so, looking forward, I think, “well, this isn’t so bad. In reality I’m in a good position. I won’t always be. One day I’ll be sick or hopeless, dreamless or disabled. But today, today I am not only a desirable but desired. And I don’t merely mean in the physical sense. So it doesn’t have to be a bad day. Start the adventure. The adventure begins right now. Where do you want to go, Lori? What do you want to do? Who are you going to be?”
Welcome to the universe.