Nisan 4. Arrived on Καπρικορνια. Living on a planet where the day is twenty-two Earth hours long will certainly make life interesting. After all, should I keep Earth time or Καπρικορνιαn time? I will need to keep Καπρικορνιαn time to do my job, but I will also need Earth time when communicating home.
Arriving at the spaceport, Καπρικορνια is certainly very different. The buildings are made of some sort of strange material, and the people (well that’s hardly the right word) are very different too. They are not like people on Earth in physique or thinking at all. Of course, I had prepared myself for the differences; I had seen pictures and watched videos of Καπρικορνια to see what it was like. But the reality was still a bit of shock, and very different to what I expected.
Anyway, having arrived (and it was a very long uncomfortable trip), I can now begin to settle down. I don’t actually start work for another few days, so will have an opportunity to look around and acclimatise myself to both the planet and the people.
Nisan 5. Didn’t sleep last night. Not surprising really. Space travel really takes it out of you. Not only that, the surroundings (and the room that I slept in) were so unfamiliar. Plus the fact that to keep Καπρικορνιαn time I had to lose 2 hours. So, just after it got light, I was up and ready for a look outside.
Breakfast was kind of normal. But, then, someone had arranged some Earth-type food for me. And before I went outside, I explored my accommodations further. The unit is in a large complex in the domed capital of Καπρικορνια. It has two bedrooms, a lounge and a kitchen/eating area—or that is what I’m going to call them, until I get used to their Καπρικορνιαn names. It is neat and modern and has all the basics that I am likely to need. It is also high up in the city. And the front wall—which is some kind of a force field—gives a great view of the city.
Outside was a bit of a shock—there were flyers and noise everywhere. But then, in one sense, I didn’t really need to go out of the building at all. There was enough in the complex I was in to keep me occupied just exploring the lower levels of the building, with its shops, museums etc.
So, I stayed in the building and explored. ‘One step at a time,’ I said to myself. The rest can wait. And that night, as I relaxed in my rooms, I reflected on the next stage of my journey.
Nisan 6. Shortly after I had gotten up, there was a knock on the door. It was someone from the office—someone with whom I would be shortly working. He’d come to welcome me to Καπρικορνια. He’d given me the previous day to myself (for which I was truly thankful), but he was offering to take me on a tour of the city (for which I was even more thankful).
And a great day we had. We talked all about the problem of time differences (with working habits), and about the Καπρικορνιαns—the people with whom I would be living and working. At the same time he took me to some of the more well-known sites on the edge of the city—the Pillar of Wrath, the Clouds of Happiness and the Mountain of Despair. The names alone were enough to inspire.
Needless to say, at the end of the day I was worn out. I was grateful to my future co-worker and guide, but I was very tired. So I took an early night, knowing full well that I had only one more day to myself, before I started work.
Nisan 7. A slow day. I was still tired—but I expected that. It would take me a while to acclimatise. I stayed around the unit most of the day, only going out at lunchtime to get something to eat. I had tried Καπρικορνιαn food before I left home, but I had suspected that the food available on Earth was only a ‘sanitised’ version—adjusted to meet Earth tastes. But that didn’t worry me, because I’ve always been a bit adventurous when it comes to food.
Having eaten, I then returned to the elevator and hid myself away for the rest of the day. I even got an early night, so I would be ready for work the next day. It was good that I had already met one of my work colleagues. Nevertheless I wondered what the work environment would be like. Fortunately, I didn’t have much time before I would find that out.
Nisan 8. An early morning. And I was picked up and taken to what is called ‘the office.’ And a strange place it is, with a mixture of humans and Καπρικορνιαns. I was welcomed and shown to my office, which was totally devoid of furniture. There was a screen on the wall. Indeed, there were screens on every wall, and there was something like a swivel chair in the centre. ‘Is this it?’ I said. And it was.
My secretary (well that’s what I think she is) is a Καπρικορνιαn. And I am pleased about that, because it will make my job so much simpler. She introduced herself, and told me a little of her history, etc. And I quickly came to the conclusion that she was someone I could consult so that I didn’t put my foot in it, as much as I otherwise would do.
Apparently, there were no appointments for the day—which I was pleased about. And that meant that I could concentrate on getting to know those in the office and what they did. It also meant that I could find out how my office would work without any furniture.
It was a long day, and at the end I was pleased to be back to my unit. There was a lot to learn, not least of which was who I could trust to help me in the task ahead.
Nisan 9. The problem of being the head of an office (and being the new boy on the block) is not new. And whilst I desperately need time to adjust, I can’t afford to take my hands off the reins. So, even though this was my second day in the office, I found myself need it exert my authority.
A minor matter arose between two members of staff, and I was required to step in. If it had been between two earth people, it would have been so much simpler. But it involved an earth person and a Καπρικορνιαn, so other sensitivities needed to be addressed.
In one way, I would have preferred for the incident not to have happened at all. On the other hand, having a minor issue on which I could stamp my authority so early in my time, is probably to my advantage.
The rest of the day was fairly quiet. Which was good, as I had a meeting with a Καπρικορνιαn to prepare for the next day.
Nisan 10. I had the meeting with someone high up in the Καπρικορνιαn government. To say that I was nervous is an understatement. Indeed, I don’t think I has ever been so anxious about meeting anyone before. But then, I am working in a different world, with a different people, and who have a whole different way of thinking that I am used to.
In reality, it was really only a courtesy visit of an Earth man to someone in authority on an alien planet. But, with the two very different cultures, there was a lot that could have gone wrong.
Despite that, the meeting went far more smoothly that I had anticipated. And it triggered off, for me, many questions about the similarities and differences of the two very different cultures.
Nisan 11. My eighth day on Καπρικορνια, and the beginning of the weekend. (Καπρικορνιαns enjoy a ten-day week, which includes a three-day weekend—which is going to be so confusing.)
I spent the day thinking over the events of the week. I also spent time working out some sort of routine. I’d been here a few days now, and I needed to adapt quickly to life on this strange planet.
My mind also went to church. Where would I go? What would it be like? And who would be there? And it occurred to me that if the Καπρικορνιαns had their own god (which they do), how did they cope with the Earth people who want to express their Christianity?
It was a day of so many questions, some of which I was sure would be shortly resolved. In the meantime, I spent the day familiarising myself with all the places, like shops, etc., that I would need for everyday living, and even located a church that I could try at the end of the weekend.
To be continued …
Posted 23rd February 2019
© 2019, Brian A Curtis