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Alienating Your Audience

| Friendly | April 6, 2017

(I am working as a volunteer guide at an event when I notice another volunteer looking a bit uncomfortable while a man is talking to her. I watch as she tries to take a step away from him but every time he follows. I go over to back her up, thinking that I can make up an excuse to get her away from him.)

Volunteer: “This man has been telling me about aliens.”

Me: *genuinely interested* “Oh, really? I am interested in aliens.”

Man: “Really?” *the other volunteer makes a run for it*

Me: “Yeah, I am. In fact friends and I may have seen a UFO last weekend. Either that or it was a satellite.”

Man: “Where were you?”

Me: “In [Country Town].”

Man: “Yeah, there are a lot up there; I go there all the time.”

Me: “Can you tell me what you’ve seen?”

Man: “I’ve seen heaps.” *looks around, moves closer and loudly whispers* “They take me on their ships and give me messages.”

Me: “Riiigght.” *I take step back; he takes a step forward*

Man: “Yeah, they have told me that they are going to make themselves known in October, that they are going to take over the world then.”

Me: “Um, okay.” *takes a step back, he takes a step forward*

Man: *still loudly whispering* “I’m the only one they’ve told, because—” *leans in closer* “—they need humans to lead countries. I am going to be leader of Australia.”

Me: *backs away again but realising I have backed into a wall and there’s no escape* “Oh, okay.”

Man: “Anyway, I am part alien; my last name is [Name] and I am related to that family. They are part of the seven families that rule the world. I’m happy to be able to tell you this. Usually I only tell my therapist and at first he didn’t believe me but now he does. I can see you do, too.”

(I am wondering how I am going to get away from him. I notice my fellow volunteer beckoning to me and pointing to her watch. I’m not wearing one but notice he is.)

Me: “Oh, is that the time? Are you going onto [Other Event Location]?”

Man: “Yes, I want to see that.”

Me: “Well, as interesting as this has been, you better go because we only have 10 minutes before that event is closed.”

Man: “Okay, I better go. Bye. I’m sure I’ll see you again.”

Me: “Yeah, that will be great.” *thinking, not if I see you first*

(I head over to the other volunteers.)

Volunteer: “You handled that well. Thank you for saving me.”

Me: “Oh, gawd, I need a drink.”

(I should have asked him which October as two have been and gone since then, and I haven’t seen any invading aliens or seen him again.)

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