Yesterday Leif had a booth at a horse and tack show and as I didn’t have to work at my tour guide gig, I agreed to tag along and help out. Early on in the day a young lady probably between late teens-mid twenties came by and began to make small talk about her interest in learning blacksmithing. We were pretty busy with setting up the booth and some early customers, so she wandered off after a little bit.
Now, if you’ve never done craft or art shows, you might not understand the culture involved. You get a lot of bored, lonely and socially awkward people coming by looking to just chat more than buy. You also get the other vendors who often tend to be a lot of elderly, or out of work, bored, lonely and socially awkward people who want to compare their skill to yours and try and make themselves look more knowledgeable, skilled or experienced, especially if they think your wares are actually better quality than theirs.
Usually these people are harmless, but occasionally they are spooky (harken back to last fall…). As it was a horse and tack show, it did draw a little bit higher-end clientele than the flea market/craft shows we’ve sometimes attended, but you always get those few special snowflakes.
So, Young lady it turns out was an SCA type, which adds it’s own variety of weirdness to her character. SCA, if you are unfamiliar stands for Society for Creative Anachronism. The SCA is an organization of people who like to pretend they are from some historical venue. You get a lot of re-enactors, but usually the hard-core, serious ones who really want to re-enact eventually realize the SCA tends more to be about those Dungeons and Dragons types who wanted to take roll playing to the next level, or the socially awkward geeks and nerds who realized they could be “someone” in an imaginary world when they were just “nobodies” in real life, and generally disengage from the SCA to do real, solid, respectable historical work leaving mostly a band of people who are somewhat less than the cream of the crop. (sorry really long run on sentence)
Young lady reappeared later in the afternoon. I didn’t see her approach, as she came up from behind me. But suddenly Leif was talking to someone and I turned to see who and there was Young lady inches from my face saying “Boo!”
She then proceeded to stand around and talk. And talk. And talk. Somehow it came out that she wanted to be a masseuse. Leif, being quite sore from several days of hard core forge work in a row preparing for the show, said she could give him a hand massage. So she pulled over our cooler squeezed between us and proceeded to give Leif a hand massage. Then she wanted to give me a hand massage. She wasn’t half bad, but I don’t like people I don’t know very well touching me, and I didn’t like her sitting so close to me. I like my personal space when it comes to strangers, even friends. So I took my hand back after a minute saying that she seemed to have a good technique and I hoped that would be the end of it.
But I think she enjoyed an excuse to touch Leif, who I’m pretty sure she was nursing up to having a crush on. He told her she could rub his neck and shoulders and so she had at. Now he’d tried to get me to do that earlier, but it felt awkward to be doing so in a public place where he was trying to sell his products, and the old guy from the booth in front of ours kept making comments about when it was his turn so I told Leif it made me uncomfortable to give him a back rub out in public. But if he didn’t care to have some strange girl doing it, or getting the additional catcalls from the old guy about how come he couldn’t get one massage while Leif got two, I suppose it was none of my business.
After while she stopped and Leif offered her one of his cloak pins she’d been admiring as “payment.” Then he went off to the men’s room and I thought for sure Young Lady would leave. But she continued to sit there trying to engage me in conversation. Unfortunately for both of us, I preferred to sit and watch the booth and try to talk to customers that might wander by and had nothing really to say to Young Lady who I felt had overstayed her welcome.
When Leif came back we decided it would be a good time to check on the dogs who were out in the truck. Leif said I could go and I didn’t argue as it would give me a good excuse to get away from Young Lady who was still perched way to close to me on the cooler for my comfort. So, I took Rupert and Vera for a leisurely sniff about the mall and surrounding areas. And, oddly enough, I found their company much more soothing and rewarding. Even when it entailed scooping up large piles of hot, stinky dog poo.
But eventually I got cold and I had to use the bathroom myself so I put up the dogs and wandered back indoors to the ladies room. Having finally run out of excuses to stay away I tried to mentally prepare myself to bear the company of Young lady once more. But, much to my relief she was gone when I got back to Leif’s booth.
“So, I see you’ve been deprived of your little lady friend. What finally pried her away?” I asked.
“Oh, she went to the raffle drawing. She had tickets.”
“Good, her company was getting quite tedious, in my opinion.”
“Yeah, well, she’s an SCA type.”
“Yeah, and there’s a reason I left the SCA.”
“Yeah. Me too.”
“I’m pretty sure she had a little crush on you.”
And Leif started to laugh.
“She couldn’t understand our dynamic. I asked her what she meant, and apparently she thought you were my mom.”
“Oh, really?” And, honestly I wasn’t offended, I found it very funny, especially as I was sure she was interested in Leif. “So what did you say?”
“I told her you were three years younger than me. She was surprised.”
And we both laughed. Now, I have a very striking head of mostly silver hair with some deep brownish-black hair low-lights that I keep cut pretty short. It’s natural, and I don’t have any interest in coloring my hair to look more “youthful.” I dress pretty comfortably, in “mom” style because I don’t want to look like a middle aged lady trying to still be 20. Occasionally people think my daughter is my granddaughter, but it doesn’t bother me either as she’s only 10 and I kind of expect that as most 40 something ladies usually color their hair to avoid looking all grandma-ish. Now, while Leif keeps a crew cut, and on account that his hair is so short, his grey doesn’t much show, Young lady still must have thought either Leif was a couple decades younger than he actually is, or I was a couple decades older than I actually am. I don’t see how that premise worked. Maybe it was wishful thinking on her part.
But regardless we found it funny. And, perhaps once she realized I was competition and not just Mom, she saw no reason to come back, and that pleased me to no end.