After all the hype and the excitement within our family all there was to see was a head in a yellow light. And not a real head at all. Rather a head with a fancy hat albeit an attractive one at that.
To say my mother was not impressed with my reaction to the mask is to put it mildly.
She uttered words like ‘thousands of years, history, once in a life time opportunity, appreciation, craftsmanship’ she went on about how I would fitted neatly into the Philistines who ransacked history and laid waste to so much.
I did appreciate the significance of the moment, she’d said enough in the hours before we left to give me some idea of the significance of the exhibition, and I did feel the sense of awe among the gathered throng who stood and gaped at the head, muttered words to each other, exclamations of wonder and there was even to occasional flash of a camera which to my enjoyment attracted the security guards who pointed to the large sign advising patrons not to photograph the Egyptian Queen. Why I couldn’t understand, as it was it was probably being exposed to more intense light than it had experienced for many centuries so it was not as if she was going to feel blinded by the constant flashing of cameras.
Ten minutes exhausted my attention span, I looked around for more interesting things to view. To my disappointment my mother insisted that I stand beside her while she read through the inscription. She read aloud as if implying I couldn’t read it myself and I was suddenly aware of many many eyes focused on us.
She finished with an exclamation I never going to forget:
‘Now wasn’t that well worth the price of admission. Aren’t you pleased you came?’
The question of course refocused all eyes on me. What was I to say? ‘No mum it was a crap experience.’ ‘Gee mum you read that so well and I am so much more informed than ever before.’
But no I sprouted something like: ‘Mum I can read you know.’
She looked at me, realising all eyes were on us, and made one of her statements she makes to cover embarrassment, ‘I was just helping you understand James. I’d love a cup of tea.’
With her hand in the small of my back we made a hasty exit, leaving the next wave of admirers to take our front spot.
Pushing me away I could hear her muttering to me and to herself: “Never again James you can stay ignorant for all I care.’
My mum never stayed angry for long. Over a cup of tea we planned our next historical foray. Mum poured over the museum program her eyes lit up as mine rolled as she stood gathering herself about to take on the Chinese bat exhibition.
Written for: http://magpietales.blogspot.co.uk/