August 8th, 2011 20:42 EST
It Could Have Been an Alien Invasion
Laundry led me to the TV. I rarely watch it during the day, but laundry is boring, and I needed something to distract me from the chore. I thought a good scary movie might work, so I clicked the power button but no movie greeted me; instead, I heard the beeping alarm of the Emergency Alert System.
I only half looked at the announcement. The "This is a test" messages come on all the time, so I tend to block them out, but this time there was something new on the message, Along with the loud beeps, there were these words:
"This is not a test. Evacuate Chester County immediately. Please evacuate immediately. " Or something pretty close to that. I was sort of in shock so I can`t be certain of the exact wording.
Anyway I got a bit unnerved. While I live in Montgomery County, my husband works in Chester County, and my daughter`s office is pretty close to that county line as well. I called my husband`s office number and got his voicemail. (I always get his voicemail. If one day we divorce, my grounds for the marriage dissolution will be lack of communication due to the fact that he never picks up his damn phone and always lets it go to voicemail.)
Since my daughter is not always as calm as me, I decided to check out the situation before calling her office and screaming, "GET OUT! GET OUT! ALIENS ARE COMING!"
I pretty much decided the emergency was aliens. I didn`t hear whirling wind and there were no storms in the area, so tornadoes were out. We are too far from the coastline for a Tsunami, and the closest nuclear power plant is 10 miles from my door in my county, so a meltdown would not trigger an evacuation in the next county. So, that left ALIENS as the only possible explanation. Well, there is the Rapture too, but I don`t think that event is reserved for just one county in Pennsylvania, and if it going to target one county it would be somewhere in Pennsyltucky not affluent Chester County.
Luckily, I had presence of mind to call Comcast to figure out the situation. It took me five minutes to reach a live person. Okay, if my internet was down or my TV service was interrupted, five minutes is not that long, but in the case of an alien invasion, five minutes is an eternity. I had to listen to my account information and promos for new shows on HBO and for some wrestling or cage fighting event. Finally, I got a human customer service person.
"I know this sounds really silly, but I just saw an emergency alert announcement saying that Chester County is being evacuated. Did I imagine that?" I asked.
"For real?" she asked back. " I live there; let me see."
The woman was gone for another five minutes. I had a feeling she was calling her family and getting them on the road before the rest of Pennsylvania knew that Chester County was being invaded by aliens. When she finally returned she said,
"Ma`am, there was an emergency alert issued, but it was a boo-boo."
"No kidding. Is that the technical term? So, it was like a War of the Worlds mistake?"
"Exactly, but this wasn`t aliens."
I thought it best not to admit that the aliens were my primary theory in this emergency. She was applauding me for my vigilance and my civic responsibility, so I thought it rude to interrupt her when she showering me with compliments and gratitude. Why tarnish my reputation by admitting I was ready to surrender to a UFO?
"And do you want to know the weird thing?" She continued. Not one person called about the emergency. You are the only one."
So, what does this say about me? I think it says that either I am a good citizen or that I am a paranoid head case. What does it say about everyone else? No one is paying attention. No one cares that one day we can be wiped off the planet by power-happy androids whose only goals are to conquer the universe and kill everyone in their wake. And personally, I blame the alien attitude toward us on Reality TV. The aliens might think we are all like the idiots on these shows. I hope they never tune into the A&E`s Strange Addictions because if they saw the episode with the woman who eats rocks, they might think pebbles and boulders are the favorite menu choices of all humans -- not just the crazy ones, and if this is the case, it would only make them want to eradicate us from the universe quicker.
(Breathe in; breathe out)
How can it be that I was the only one who worried about this message? People just assumed it was a test when it said, "This is not a test." The general population is supposed to look at the alert and make appropriate plans and take action. Well, the hell with everyone else! If this happens again, I am taking my family and dogs and heading somewhere where the aliens can`t find us. Yes, I will spend the remainder of my days just with my family listening to them complain and whine about how I saved their lives and how there is nothing good to eat and how they can`t stand not having an internet connection. Hm. Maybe next time when that message comes on the TV screen telling me to evacuate, I will turn it off myself. Survival might prove to be a little too annoying for me after all.