The space boffins cry out the to the universe in the dead of a cloudless night in some remote mountain-top observatory in the Rocky Mountains or somewhere in the back of Europe.

I thought, Christ, if I can`t get the guy standing next to me to understand me and he IS there, he’s virtually up my arse right now, how do we expect to communicate with extraterrestrials who are light years away? Do aliens have tongues and ears like we do? Do they speak English? For all the good that was doing me right now! Is there some minimum common denominator apart from those ridiculous-looking  disproportionate E.T-type heads just because we have no other way  of imagining an alien since it doesn’t really fit into any of our five senses?

Looking for intelligent life in outer space. Us?  It beggars belief that we’re actually trying to contact aliens who could be superior.

And why should we even assume that they be organic at all? They could just be invisible, undetectable machines much smarter than we humans are. Huh, we might even have created them ourselves in a previous cosmic era. Erm…, maybe it’s payback time, our universal D-day, Take that! haha!

Instead of lying low at the edge of the Universe, tucked neatly away in our pretty little solar system, here we are, trying to give them enough information to come down and either take us over or wipe us out. That’s what we would do to an inferior world if we found one.

Earth, your days are over. Here we come!

If it had been water that I needed I could have collapsed and somebody would have given me water because if you’re stretched out on the ground and cupping your palm and frantically drawing it to your mouth, no earthling, however dim, could misunderstand it. If I was dying of hunger I could have done much the same thing. But I needed a train. It was hardly an abstract concept. Yet how do you convey it? (come on reader, tell me what you woulda done cos I’m gonna tell you what I did in a minute). Any of the ways I personally could imagine would likely have meant me ending up in a Chinese mental institution. If it had been a plane I could have taken my chances and flapped my arms like a bird but how do you imitate a train without risking being driven away in the back of an ambulance strapped to the seat? Right now I had nothing going for me, I felt I was becoming the embodiment of some syndrome still to be named. The Shanghai Syndrome? Mmm, sounds good! Original, eh? Huh, no way! Not me! Ni hao, so what!

It wasn’t exactly that I was clueless. I thought about getting trampled underfoot if I could find room to fall, and then, once they got me upright, somebody with some English would come to assist me and point the way to a train. I thought of imitating a loudspeaker with my hands and shouting out DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH, instead of just asking one person at a time. But the truth is, and I should be ashamed to say it, that despite my harrowing dilemma, I simply didn’t have the guts.

WHERE’S TONY?

Where’s that Chinese student I was  talking to ten minutes ago? (I need you man, I need you now! Tony, we still have things to talk about …). I prayed he would be a stalker, just lurking round a corner watching me, ready to jump to my assistance in his own interest. (If so, come now Tony, come out now, I know you’re there somewhere, where the fuck are you?) At least my imagination was in no mean fettle. I looked around but it was a futile gesture. Even if he had been in the vicinity finding him would have  been tantamount to looking for a needle in a haystack, unless of course he was tailing me and which of course he wasn’t. Alas, I would never see my friend Tony again, sigh! But surely there must be more Tonys around. They could ask me all the stupid questions they wanted, I’d answer them, just get me to a train, well a metro station to be precise, the last thing I wanted was to end up in Beijing.

And there it goes again, haipat, haipat, that hotdog seller must be rakin’ it in.

boffins = scientists, arse = culo, for all the good = para lo que sirve, beggars belief = cuesta creer, payback time = ajuste de cuentas, take that! = toma ya!

tucked neatly = oculto de manera segura, wipe us out = aniquilarnos, stretched out = tumbado, drawing it = llavandolo, earthling = humano, dim = not very inteligent

hunger = hambre, hardly = dificilmente, convey = hacer entender, meant = significado, flap = batir, strapped = atado, embodiment = personificación, clueless = sin ideas

trampled = pisoteado, upright = incorporado, harrowing = espeluznante, guts = agallas, pray = recer, stalker = acosador, fettle = forma, tantamount = the same as

needle in a haystack = aguja en pajar, tailing me = following me, rakin’ it in = forrándose