A Conversation for The Exploration of Mars
The small man from Mars
Alfredo Started conversation Jan 25, 2004
It is the third night of september, 2003.
After having cleaned the house of a very good girlfriend of mine - because it is for sale now - I take a bath in the splendid bathroom and stay there for as long as two hours.
Finally I take my bike to return from her green suburb to my appartement in the inner city of Amsterdam. My senses can enjoy fully what they experience, because of the beauty and calm of nature at this hour .
There is hardly any wind and the temperature is about 18 degrees, although the sun has gone down for more then two hours.
My eyes are slow and wander along the skyline and my thoughts are comforted by a very soft breeze.
Suddenly I descry in the left uppercorner of my field of vision a phenomenon in the sky and I imagine it is an airplain.
But airplanes don't usually pause in the sky, don't they?
This one dóes.
This one dóes?!!
A pausing airplane, high up in the sky?!?
What élse could it be?
This is not a normal thing to be seen at the sky.
"Holy shit; this is Mars!" I conclude.
"Stable light, a bit pink, much bigger then the Pole Star"; all ingredients which I had collected in my memories by watching the BBC in the passing weeks and they surprisingly all come together in a small pink bulb at the firmament .
The BBC had shown live pictures of the red planet, including images of the polar ice.
"With a good binoculars you should be able to see the ice by yourselves" they added enthusiasticly.
"Well, first I've got to be lucky enough to spot that thing anyway", I responded sadly in my mind.
For this reason I already went for a look at the corner of my street, a week ago, but my attempt to get in contact with this member of our planetarian family appeared to be fruitless.
And above all, to many clowds! This is Holland, you know. Hopeless.
In the passed spring it was said by NASA, that half the number of this cosmic family should be visible from earth in one straight line at the sky .
Well, I didn't see ány whatsoever, because I do not know ánything about constellations as a starting point.
But this is different.
No pausing airplane. This is Mars!
A clear yellow-pink cricle at the heavens sky.
No counting,thinking and theoretically concluding; "that has to be it".
No, this planet had its own, characteristic face, compared to all the other stars around it.
The night fell, a very soft breeze, no rain, clouds, or moistured atmosphere.
And around me, there was a serene sphere .
My self-discovered hung as a cheerful Chinese lantern at the heavens of this night and no in its neighbourhood. As if they stepped backwards out of respect for this shining intruder and remained only at the other side of this cosmic ceiling.
And also mý respect grew by the minute, because I knew that not only my very old wishes came true at this night, but that this phenomena only was seen before sixty thousand years ago.
Only the Neanderthal man had seen this before us!
This miracle I could not give a shelter only in my own heart and my first victim would become a teenage girl at her grandma's bike, from the opposite direction. "If you look there, you'll see Mars", I yelled, and without even móving her eyes, let alone truning her head, she said; "oh mars" and continued her way with her grumpy look for the first snackbar to be found.
This coup by me failed completely.
But a second attempt succeeded.
Three men, in their fourtees, with sports at the back of their bikes.
Together we halted and amazement conquered also theír hearts. One of them told me, that he'd seen years ago "as a very small star" in Algeria. For appears to be visible many times, but than it is so small, it looks like a tiny star. Almost no visible difference with a real .
I continued my journey ánd missionary work to convert the world in the direction of .
Sometimes some students were really astonished, when I told them about this planet and then I knew it; my own neighbourhood had to be converted too.
At the end of the street there was still light to bee seen in some living rooms, although it was already twelve o'clock. So I rang a harsh bell and waited. For a moment I saw just a small move in the curtain, but no further sign of any life.
"They have learned that after nine, only criminals knock on their doors " I conclude fiercely.
In my own housing complex (mainly students) I see a light at the upper floor.
"That should not go wrong" and I try to figure out which doorbell I have to push. After a whole minute of waiting a sleepy voice by the intercom asks: "yeosssssss, whhhoeoe isssss therrrr"
"Could you come to the balcony for a minute", I recall enthousiasticly.
"Too theee báálcooony?!"
"Oh, I guess, I pushed the wrong button"
"You miight verrry well be rrright"
When I walk away, a small car drives almost over my shoes and parks twenty meters further on. When four young boys got out I tell them about what happens their above their heads.
They listen all four of them very carefully and look at with awe.
That mission is accomplished.
Walking through my neighbourhood I also look for other victims and I see how the two owners of the ice-saloon shut their store and just walk into their own house.
Ten seconds later I ring the bell; "I can show you someting very beautiful if you walk with me to the middle of this street", I say, when the man and his wife open the door.
And so it happened.
"Ah", replied the man with great satisfaction. "This is what I wanted to see so eagerly, but no one could help me to find it!". "This is fantástic!".
"Oh, my gosh, now I have seen !" added his wive.
The four of us are enjoying this fully; the couple, Mars and I.
And when they thanked me emphatically, I decide to look for a small bench close to the locks in the canal. As a miniature my hangs there pontifically in the blue-black sky.
Although it is midnight , there are still a lot of peoples around me, while they telephone, walk, bicycle and talk with each other. Almost to cosy for this dramatic night. Sometimes I talk at my bench to a couple that's passing and say; "if you want to see something spectacular, than you should look in thát direction". And one after another becomes this way the prey of astonishment. Sometimes I break the silence with cosmic wisdoms I learned from the BBC.
But I remain careful, for even the most common theories can quickly spoil this enlightning spectacle by suspicion. So I only talk about distances in miles from the earth and the size of - "half the earth"- and why the colour that we see is yellow-red. Even the knowledge of the fact that the last time we could see this so clearly was sixty thousand years ago, is almost too much to believe. I see suspicious expressions, so I've got to remain careful.
In the dead of night I'm still sitting at my bench and suddenly a man stands at the railing. As an experienced working student I call; "If you watch the sky in thát direction, you can see something wonderful for free". (This is Holland, you know.)
" Oh yes, what should that be?"
" Mars" .
" Is that Márs?!"
" Yes, and it's been a while ago that it was so visible as now"
"Well, than I'll get my friend here immediately", and while he is cycling, he turns his head to me and calls; "it is really for free, isn't it?!"
"Yes, completely free", I answer and I'm beginning to feel that the cultural level is starting to drop.
Again I long for heavenly peace and for about half an hour I remain completely silent.
But I am sitting right before a bar, at the opposite site of the street and I cannot ignore for too long my mission.
So I seduce some visitors who are visiting that bar to a surprising look at the sky.
But during this serene night I suddenly discover that peoples that I have never spooken, leave the pub and suddenly say to me; "Well, that has to be there, isn't it?"
"Oh, my god", I conclude being shocked, "I have become "the small man from Mars" in that bar".
"Well, there goes my peace and quiet" and so from that moment I'm trying to be as quiet as possible and keep my mouth shut.
After fifteen minutes a girl leaves the bar and yells; "Is still out there?".
" No, not any longer", I repley timidly.
" Well, I can still see it clearly!!" she returns cruelly.
Another girl who is leaving is so drunk, that she believes she can see Venus in this midnight hour.
But when they finally leave, all humor runs dry. Praise god.
The silence of the city makes love with the heavenly again.
Under a cristal clear sky - with its magic Chinese lantern and watching at a polite distance - I feel completely content.
And we all sail through the immense sky; by gravity as well as amazement and pleasure.
This night cannot fail anymore. Never again.
, I am grateful to you for all eternity.
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The small man from Mars
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