I'm the kind of person who skips to the conversation when reading a book.
I took Deirdre, Hannah, and Grace to the New York State Fair yesterday.
We had looked ahead of time to see what was happening before we showed up. Yesterday was llama competition. Seriously.
Last week, I had no idea such a thing even existed. Yesterday, I fell in love with llamas.
When we arrived, they were doing a llama obstacle course. The handler had to lead their llama on a weave through some poles, then over a low bar, past a scary giant tarantula (fake), past a crouching coyote (also fake), up and down some stairs, across a low platform, between two poles on the ground, and then in reverse through the same poles (some llamas don’t like to back up), and finally through some water.
Adults were leading the llamas on this course. Like people my age. I really wanted to get a llama.
Some had obviously been doing this a long time. They were prepared for the water hazard by wearing boots. Llamas don’t seem to want to go places that the handler isn’t willing to go too. They’re pretty smart in that way.
One handler was wearing tennis shoes. I wondered how she would handle the water obstacle. First she tried to lead the llama by walking to the side. No dice. She had to muck through the puddle to get the llama to go through. Some llamas wouldn’t go through no matter what.
I could have stayed there all day, watching llamas, but it was Grace and Hannah’s first time at the fair, so we left. We saw the butter sculpture, bought some maple cotton candy, watched a seal kiss an unsuspecting woman, and learned about racing pigeons.
We saw a VIP surrounded by hulky security guys and people taking pictures. I had to ask four people before I found someone who could identify him. The guy who finally told me was part of the security detail. It was our state’s Attorney General. I have the feeling he could have traveled quite freely through the state fair and not worried a bit about security. I think, for him, the attention was more important than the security.
Finally we went back to the llamas. They had moved on to a pack competition and it was children leading the animals. Little children. Like under the age of 8.
The llamas had a saddlebag-like affair strapped to them. The child had to lead the llama through the pole weave, pick up a bag of soda cans, strap it onto the llama, carry it through a bunch of tree boughs, between the two poles on the ground, forward and in reverse, across the platform, and then remove the can and the pack at the end.
Deirdre elbowed me. She indicated a woman sitting in front of us a few rows and to our left. She was wildly cheering for her daughter who had just completed the course. Her daughter was the tiniest of the competitors.
“She works at the college,” Deirdre whispered.
“Did you say hello to her?” I whispered back.
Dierdre shook her head vehemently.
I asked her about it later. “Why didn’t you say hello to that woman at the llama competition?”
“I don’t really know her,” Deirdre said. “I’ve just seen her in one of the offices. And she yelled at our whole class once because not everyone had gotten some paper work in.”
“Were you one of the ones who hadn’t turned in her paperwork?”
“No, but she’s a pretty intense person. She was telling us that if we didn’t all get our paperwork in, we wouldn’t be able to participate in certain things.”
“I still think you could have said hello,” I said.
“Mom, you don’t understand,” Deirdre said. “You know how there are crazy swim moms?”
Yes, indeed, I do know the crazy swim mom. I’ve seen them giving their small children Red Bull just before a race in the hope that a caffeine rush will make them swim faster. I’ve seen them publicly scolding and yelling at their children for swimming poorly or disqualifying. I’ve heard them scream and yell with enthusiasm at their child’s victories, because they are living vicariously through their children, and making life miserable for them in the process. I nodded my head at Deirdre. Yes, I knew exactly what she was talking about with the crazy swim mom.
“Well, she has all the makings of crazy llama mama,” she said.
I bought laughed and cringed.
Adults know how to take the funny out of everything. Even llamas.
I still want a llama though. I promise not to take the fun out of it.