M. Giant's
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Thursday, September 26, 2002  

For some reason, I'm thinking about my first visit to Roswell, NM. This was back in 1997, before Roswell meant a lousy TV show, but just as it was starting to really embrace (read: whore) its status as a UFO capitol. Trash and I had flown into Albuquerque to get away from winter for a few days. We rented a car and drove all over the state, which doesn't take very long considering that the average freeway speed limit there is 115 m.p.h. We visited Santa Fe, Taos, Soccorro, and, of course, Roswell.

So we're on the road into town, having just passed a large military convoy (presumably loaded with reverse-engineered alien weapons and propulsion systems) and Trash asks me, "What are we doing here, anyway?"

I say, "Start looking for wreckage."


"You know," I say. "Along the side of the road. Hey, you're not going to find anything if you keep staring at me like that."

Fortunately, I was mostly kidding. Which is good, because I later learned that the crash site was actually in a town called Corona, which we'd driven through obliviously an hour before. If I were Corona, I'd be kind of pissed about Roswell stealing my E.T. thunder like that.

Still, there we were in Roswell with no idea of what we should see or do there. Fortunately, someone told us about the UFO museum on Main Street.

We get there, and there's this overly friendly volunteer. She greets us effusively and hands us a colored pushpin so we can indicate on a large map where we came from. This volunteer is waaaaay too proud of this map. At the time of our visit they've only been in the building, an old movie theater, for a couple of months, so there are still some blank spots on the map. I stick the pin roughly where our house would be, and prepare to move on.

Except that this woman has just gone into raptures because she's from the Twin Cities area too. "Oh, my goodness!" she gushes, "What part are you from?"

Trash, the pathological conversationalist, lets slip that I grew up in Possum Holler, one of the northern suburbs of Minneapolis. Okay, it's not really called Possum Holler, but the real name of the town is too embarrassing. Garry Trudeau made it semi-famous as the headquarters of the Duke 2000 presidential campaign. And you thought he’d made it up.

Anyway, the museum volunteer nearly soils her pants at this. She's from Possum Holler too!

So now we're stuck. I have to listen to her run down this list of names of people who still live in a town I fled years before. Trash is trying to be nice about it, but I can tell she's wishing she'd kept her cakehole shut. The volunteer takes a picture of us in front of the "alien autopsy" prop in a display case that is the museum's most prized possession. She goes and finds one of the museum's founders, Glenn Dennis, so she can introduce this poor, old, ex-funeral director to some guy who used to live in her hometown. Glenn was nice, but he had even less of an idea why he was meeting me than I did. If you don't know who Glenn Dennis is, he was friends with a nurse who was present at the original alien autopsy in July 1947. So now that I’ve met him, I'm only three degrees of separation from an actual Gray, just because I lived in Possum Holler for most of my childhood.

Basically, here was a woman who dedicated all of her spare time to the contention that an alien spacecraft had traveled thousands of light years from Zeta Reticuli or something, across the trackless depths of space, using technology we can only dream about, only to smack into some guy's ranch seventy miles from where we stood.

Yet it was almost unbelievable to her that from a town of 45,000 people, two of them would end up at the number one tourist destination in New Mexico. Go figure.

posted by M. Giant 3:26 PM 0 comments


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