Mom is extremely shy of being in front of an audience. She always says she would rather be backstage than on stage. She says she can’t act, but put a phone in her hand and she has been known to impersonate people pretty successfully.
Mom and I sound a lot alike, especially on the phone. So much alike, in fact, that even Mom has been fooled before. One time she didn’t pick up the phone before her answering machine, and when she heard her own voice telling callers she wasn’t available, she actually thought it was me on the phone.
Sounding alike on the phone has come in handy for me. When I was a teenager, there was a boy I sometimes went out with who loved to talk on the phone. He droned on and on about cars or some other boring subject, and not only did I grow weary of listening, but one time I really had to use the restroom. I signaled Mom over and asked her to pretend to be me for a bit.
“But what will I say?” she wondered.
“Just sound interested,” I whispered while covering the phone. “But, I have to warn you, he’s really boring!”
She reluctantly took the phone while I gladly left. I could hear her agreeing with him and making small comments of interest. I took my time getting back to the phone. She must have talked for me for ten minutes and the poor fellow never had a clue.
I’m not the only one who has asked Mom to take her place on the phone. Mom has a friend who is a public figure and is frequently interviewed on television and radio. Let’s call her Jane Doe. Well, Jane was covering an important trial in another city and had asked Mom to come up and spend some time with her. When the trial ended, Jane Doe was to be on a phone interview for a radio program, answering questions about the trial and offering her opinion.
Jane and Mom had a flight scheduled right after the phone interview and Jane thought she had plenty of time to pack before she was needed on the phone, but she didn’t take into account that Mom was with her, and when one is with Mom, things often go crazy. And they did.
Mom has a tendency to be in buildings when the fire alarm goes off. I think she can count almost 20 times that this has happened to her. She claims that she was the actual cause of the fire alarm only once, but even if that’s true, she gets blamed for many of them because of how often she is in the building when the alarm is set off. Can this really be a coincidence?
Just when Jane started packing, foolishly thinking that all would go smoothly, the hotel fire alarm sounded. Mom thought, “Here we go again,” and calmly told Jane that it was time to evacuate. Packing would have to wait.
By the time they were allowed back in their room, it was time for Jane’s interview, but she still hadn’t packed and they had to leave for the airport directly after the phone call. Being a woman of action, Jane had a plan.
“Marci, this radio host is going to do most of the talking and I’m only expected to answer questions periodically,” she said. “You can listen to him talk on the phone while I pack and then hand me the phone whenever he asks me a question.”
Mom was skeptical but willing.
The radio host had a lot to say in the beginning, and Mom relaxed and started paying more attention to Jane than the host. Jane had been shopping and had purchased more clothes than would fit in her suitcase, so she started putting some of her things in Mom’s suitcase. Mom wanted to see what was going in her bag, and was so absorbed by watching Jane that she was caught off guard when the radio host said, “And what do you think, Jane?”
Mom panicked. She thrust the phone at Jane and whispered, “Just say, ‘Excuse me?’” Jane was smooth. She listened as the host repeated his question, and answered without hesitation, then handed the phone back to Mom as she returned to her packing.
Mom was on top of it after that. For the next half hour, Mom listened carefully and whispered the appropriate questions to Jane while handing her the phone. Jane handled it like a pro, never missing a beat, which was quite a challenge because Mom thought the situation was funny and started giggling. This caused Jane to giggle, too. Before long, the two of them were laughing so hard that Jane needed to rely on her experience in order to sound professional in between laughing fits. Silly Mom can drag anyone into her world of crazy antics!
Eventually the interview was over and Jane was packed and ready to go. The two of them laughed all the way to the airport, thinking that their ordeal was over. But they should have known better….Mom was there, and the craziness wasn’t over quite yet. But that’s a story for next time.