The Alien Commute

Today I am still thinking about aliens (because every day I think about aliens) specifically their daily commutes.  If you read my last article on Wednesday of this week about Alien Business Trips you will notice the article was inspired by a trip I had to take, myself.  It was a five hour drive, each way.

It took so much out of me I was not able to get up in time to write yesterday.  It happens.  I wondered if aliens feel like this when they get home.  Like, man, I just traveled 90 light years - I'm beat!  Honey, pour me a Scotch.

The Alien Commute

We can dig into this subject more, another time.  For today I want to take things in a slightly different direction and talk more about the daily commute.  Is it too much of a stretch of the imagination that aliens have jobs they have to go to every day?

I suppose if you were one of the first species to evolve into intelligent beings, and it happened say a billion years ago, it is possible that by now you have reached the point in time where no one has to work anymore.  Everything is built by robots with AI and all you have to do is think about a glass of orange juice and it ends up in your mouth.  That is a subject for another article.  For now, we will assume that people on other planets have jobs.

How do Aliens get to Work?

Let us first think about how we get to work.  Most people get in their car or hop on public transportation and go to a place of employment.  Usually that is going to be an office building or an industrial building, maybe a mall or other retail location.  This requires roads and public transportation infrastructure.

How do aliens get to work?
Art by Dexter Morrill
Given that public transportation is the most efficient means of transporting large numbers of people from place to place, I would have to imagine that aliens also rely on public transportation.  I am going to take buses out of this equation because the bus is the lowest form of transportation.  It is the Applebee's of commuting methods.  Plus, I think aliens have evolved past using the wheel.  Wheels are awesome when you are a caveman.  If your society has mastered interstellar travel, not so much.  I have no doubt that aliens did away with the bus hundreds of millions of years ago.  That was probably the first thing to go after clothing (ever seen an alien in a track suit?).

Assuming the wheel was done away with and cars can fly, would there be any need for roads, anymore?  Why do we have roads in the first place?  I often think about Colonial America.  When European settlers first arrived, there were only foot paths through the woods from one Indian village to another.  When it became necessary to drive horse-drawn wagons down these trails, people widened them.  This is how US 1, the Boston Post Road, was built.  Other times, a general wanted to move an army from one place to another and needed a fast and easy way to do it.  This was one of George Washington's biggest accomplishments, prior to the American Revolution.  He led the effort to cut a road through the woods of Pennsylvania, so the British could attack the French at Pittsburgh.  Ultimately, this is also what led to the Interstate Highway System when Dwight Eisenhower realized it was not possible to quickly move US troops from one side of the country to another, in the event of an attack on US soil or to evacuate cities in the event of a nuclear attack.

The Alien Commute

Today, roads are everywhere.  Our cities are built so that people and goods can be transported through them on roads.  This is all because we are dependent on moving people and things on wheels.  If we no longer used the wheel, would we still need roads?

I can imagine a place in the Universe where roads once existed and then became obsolete.  Everyone and everything there is now transported through the air or underground.  Since the roads were no longer needed, they soon fell into disrepair and became an urban blight.  Anyone who lived or worked in New York City prior to the past decade probably remembers what the Highline looked like before its current state.  It was a rusted out, derelict icon of the past, most famously memorialized by Saul Chase's inspiring 1974 painting Glass Building with Structure.  It was an elevated train line which had been abandoned and became an eyesore.

The Highline NYC
Highline NYC by Saul Chase
If all roads through cities became like the Highline in New York, people would want to do something about them, just like the people of New York did with the Highline.  Today the Highline has been transformed into a beautiful park.  Flower beds have replaced rail beds.  Everywhere you look there is greenery.  It is a marvel of urban planning.

Perhaps aliens did this with all of their former roads.  That would make alien cities green and beautiful with plenty of fresh oxygen.  If humans can do this, only 6000 years into Civilization, surely aliens could do this within a billion years.  Even if one cannot imagine a civilization that old, surely it is possible that intelligent life evolved somewhere by the time the dinosaurs inhabited Earth.  That is still many millions of years ago.  It is safe to say that somewhere in the Universe, there are green cities.

Green City
Green City
Working in a green city may involved a lot of telecommuting.  The trend over the past decade, here, has been for more and more people to work from home.  I myself have been doing this for most of the past three years and I own a small business - the best staffing company in Plattsburgh, NY, as it were.  (Word)  The Internet was likely replaced by something much better, on planets more advanced than ours.  Working from home is very common.  Still, there is nothing like getting together with others and collaborating.  There are probably still office buildings and meeting places where alien people work together.  On nice days, I think they walk.

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If you have seen an alien spaceship or any type of unidentified flying object (UFO) contact me using the Contact form on this page.  You may remain anonymous if you want.  I will not ridicule you or try to tell you why you are wrong.  I get it, I saw one too.

Thank you for reading and keep an eye on the sky.