For those of you who’ve never met me at my day job, there are two facts you need to know so that this reads correctly (as this tale is really the first written chapter in what I hope is a collection of weird but true tales from Faire.) First, I have a rather thick Scottish accent, so bear with me, but I’m going to try and write my part in the farce (for farcical it seemed) as I sound in real life (even though that’s a big “no-no” in professional writing). I think it’s funnier if you can “hear” me that way.
The second fact is that after selling my glass art at Renaissance Faires in a multi-state area over several months of the year for the past 7 or 8 years, it’s a rare day when something happens that hasn’t happened before. I’ve seen Storm Troopers in kilts, I’ve seen King Arthur and his knights clapping coconuts and riding stick horses, and I see a guy swallow fire every day I’m at work. (In fact, I try not to land in front of him in the parade we have to walk in because it makes the back of my neck super hot and prickly feeling when he pops off a fireball.)
This weekend had a “first” in it though. I got proposed to. By an older Italian lady …for her son. I was chatting with a trio of people -the lady in question, her husband, and her son- in front of my booth. I don’t remember what they were eyeballing (it’s irrelevant) but the conversation went something like this:
Lady: You have an accent. Where are you from?
Me: You have an accent. Where’r you from?
Me: Mai accent is from Scotland.
Lady: You married?
Me: If you’re asking fer you, while I ‘ppreciate the enquiry, I, eh… I like boys. I don’t date girls.
Lady: NO! I’m asking for my son. (Points to son, who now looks like he wishes the universe would swallow him into a hinterland of darkness so that this conversation may be over with and he may die with dignity.)
Me: Eh… If your lad doesnae have the bones to enquire for himself? Then that’s a definite “no” straight-out-the-gate. But I thank you for your interest.
Lady: (Addressing her husband, while pointing at me.) I like her!
Me: Besides, both the boys and the wee kids that folks offer up as payment or in trade are nivver the ones you want to be takin’ home in the first place. It doesnae work out.
Lady: Gimme your card.
Me: Only if you’re gonna buy something. I’ve no wish to be wooed over the internet. I run a small art business, which is verra similar to having a cranky, non-verbal toddler that eats all mae money. I’ve no time for a husband.
At this point she grabs my hands, and looks at them.
“Heh!” She chortles. “No ring! You’re available.”
“No,” I reply “Lack of a ring means naught. Have you ever worked with glass?” I turn to the husband and the son, asking, “Can ye picture getting wee bits of glass down under a ring? No thank you! Besides, lack of jewelry doesn’t logic’ly imply an unmarrit state anymore. This is the 16th century. For all you know, there might be a simple marriage contract pinned to the wall of mae house. And I refuse to allow you to infer on my pairsonal life based on complete supposition and a five minute acquaintance to boot.”
Lady: (Again, to her husband as an aside) I really like her. I love her accent.
Me: Pah, I hear that every day. If only I could collect a coin for every time I hear that. My wee house would be paid off. Maybe I should start a “proposal jar” like a tip jar, but you put a dollar in and I can say something funny. Or tell a joke that involves sheep.
At this point the son starts literally dragging his mum to the other side of the booth, away from the scene, because some of the other customers have stopped their perusing to watch us, heads popping up around the booth like a herd of small mongooses sensing either humor or impending fisticuffs. I’m not sure which, so I chalk it up to another Weird Thing At Work, and drift toward the folks that actually look like they might be interested in buying a glass thing.
The trio continues to browse, and about 3 minutes later, the son actually expresses an interest in a piece. We discuss it briefly. I mention how one-of-a-kind most things are, and he insists he “must think about it.” I start to hand him my card (it’s usually how the “I hafta think about it” dance goes) and then smiling, pull it back out of his reach for a moment.
“Here’s my card,” I explain. “But so as I’m verra clear, I’m handing it to you because we’re discussing my glass. There’s no subtext, hokay?” He blushes and takes it, looking at his toes. I then whisper conspiratorially, “Good luck with yer mum. She’s a corker.” He grins, making sure his mum can’t see, and he starts to walk away.
However, his mum isn’t done. She’s spotted the card exchange (although she’s too far away to have overheard the sotto voce part. I am, after all, a pro.) She turns around, quicker than I would have believed, snatches a card from my top shelf, winks at me, and darts out of the booth to join her men.
I just shake my head and go back to the job of selling my work.