(Tara Jacoby for The Washington Post)

For some reason, there have been a couple of articles lately saying that people in the sky have seen other, additional things in the sky they could not identify. Though I realize it is much more likely that these are weather balloons or government satellites or a bird that moved rapidly across the lens or a bit of dirt on the screen of your phone that looks like it’s part of the image but in fact is not, just on the slightest, slimmest off chance that not only are these unidentified flying objects truly unidentified and flying, but also under the control of extraterrestrial beings, I have a message for them:

Dear UFOs,

I’m very sorry we did not have the time to tidy up before you arrived. Usually — and by “usually,” I mean “for millions of years” — the atmosphere has been cleaner. Usually we have cool pigeons and thousands of tigers that you probably would find endlessly interesting. You have caught us at a bad time. We usually have more ice, but our icemaker is very slow. But we have a lot of carbon dioxide, if you are into that at all! Just gobs. Feel free to take some — seriously, we have more than we know what to do with.

Please do not think that the way things are right now represents the way we think things should be. This is the awkward pre-party scramble that any host hopes to conceal from visitors’ eyes. In our defense, we did not think you would arrive until after we had unified the planet under a just and peaceful government, when for some reason we would also all be wearing monochromatic jumpsuits.

The point is, this is not how we live. Or certainly, it is not how we would be living if we knew we were expecting guests. Really, none of this represents any of us.

*hastily shoves Brexit under a throw pillow*

I think this is the point at which you ask to be taken to our leaders. But if you weren’t going to ask, please, forget I mentioned it! Leaders, what leaders? I think we still have some reefs — would you like to see those? Let’s go look at the reefs. Those are usually bigger, too, sorry!

*haphazardly tosses a decorative blanket over the Alabama state legislature*

Follow me this way, toward the architecture. We have a lot of very nice architecture, I think. (That one has recently been on fire; it is not supposed to look like that.)

How about some music? We have a lot of very fine music, both by whales and by others who are not whales. Have you heard “Old Town Road”? “Old Town Road" is good.

I’m sorry. None of this represents us (except perhaps “Old Town Road”). This is not how we behave to each other. Look, we are very busy and quite stressed, and you have to take our word for it that this is a nice place. It is!

Please, also, excuse — *gestures vaguely at all of human history*

Usually we have things under control, kind of. We welcome travelers. We are just and kind and friendly, could not be less xenophobic if we tried, and our economic policies are rational. You have just happened upon us at a bad moment, one that has been ongoing for the past several thousand years. But in our defense, we really did think for a little bit there that we were making progress, then we sat down and stared at our phones and got distracted.

I don’t want you to get the wrong idea about us. Could you, maybe, come back later, when we have gotten things under control? It should not take more than a century, but give us a millennium, to be safe?

Read more from Alexandra Petri:

Take a big, deep whiff of those molecules of freedom

It is increasingly clear that none of you read my report

It is the right temperature in this office