The other weekend, Mom and I went with our friend BA to a craft fair in Ohio. It's pretty nice stuff -- sure, there's the usual idiotic cutesy crap, but most of it was made by people with a remarkable amount of skill. I bought an antique end table handpainted with roses, among a few other things. Most of the jewelry I looked at would have cleaned out my checking account.
Mom and I were in one booth looking around, and I picked up a little cloth sheep and we both went "Baa-aa-aa!" Here I must explain to those of you who've never been around me or my mother. We're nuts. Also, we make sheep noises. Explanation over.
So we're baaing back and forth and from behind us comes the voice of insanity. "Oh, isn't that cute! I picked that up and it said baa!"
"Oh, that was us."
"Really? Oh, it sounded so real!"
"Nope. Just us."
"That's so funny! Are you sisters?" (Right there, we should have known the woman was insane. My mom is hot, but come on -- she still has 30 years on me.)
"Thank you, but no. She's my daughter."
"Oh, gee! Now, what do you call yourselves? Something like The Ba-aa-ad Girls?"
"Uh, no. It's just something we do...we don't really know why."
"That's great. I'm a freelance photographer and videographer..."
I shit you not. So this woman whips out a camera and starts directing her daughter to pick up one of the little sheep and for us to start baaing as soon as she touches it. Not yet realizing the depths of her lunacy, we complied.
When she was done humiliating her daughter, for whom I feel unending pity, she turned the camera on us and said "Those sound effects were brought to you by The Ba-aa-ad Girls..."
She kept rolling. So we kept baaing. We baaed an entire conversation. That film should be subtitled as follows:
"Why is that fucking thing still on?"
"I have no idea. Do you think that if we knock her down and run, people would notice?"
"Who brings a videocamera to a craft fair?"
"I guess that's the thing to do if you've just been let out of the asylum."
By now, people were starting to mill around and watch. They probably just wanted to look at the sheep.
"So, how did you guys get started doing this stuff? Do you do any other animals or voices?"
And then my mother, in an attempt to save herself, turned on me.
"Oh, she can do any voice or impression of anything. She's so funny!"
Damn you, mother. Damn you.
"Really! What else can you do? Do something funny!" Blink, the camera goes on.
"Do that Shakespeare thing," my mother urged while at the same time trying to become semiaqueous and slip through the cracks in the wall. She was referring to the impression of a British narrator from a history film that I saw in high school and which is only funny after I've set it up and you're expecting something serious.
"I love Shakespeare," she said. Of course she does.
"Actually, it has nothing to do with Shakespeare. And it's not even funny, really, unless --"
"Do it!" Mom was still made of solid matter but had managed to slide out of the shot.
"Henry VIII..." and I launched into it with no setup. I kept going on autopilot as I backed up and a crowd gathered and pointed at me and whispered to each other, probably trying to figure out what sitcom they'd seen me on. Sorry, guys, that was Rosie O'Donnell.
Still, she was not satisfied. "What else do you do?"
"Uh...really, it's hard to think of a good example when I have this display of wooden sheep digging into my back."
We managed to get away. Temporarily. In a giant, crowded outdoor space, we managed to run into this woman about every 15 minutes. And of course, she'd see us and baa at us. After the third time, Mom said, "I can't believe this fucking place isn't big enough to lose her."
Every time we ran into her, her daughter looked like she'd lost a little more of her will to live. Also, our relationship seemed more and more significant each time. Normal people would have chuckled once and then politely ignored us. Because what else is there to say? We baaed, you taped us, we wished we were born mute. That's the extent of our relationship. Or so we thought.
I think we're on her Christmas-card list now. We had to leave before we wound up on vacation together.
It could be worse. I could be one of the people she's going to force to watch that tape.