So it's the summer of 2007 and I'm in Morocco, living it up other than constantly being hounded by my mother. I've just graduated and the trip is a gift for graduating with honors. I'm ecstatic, she's not. I'm her oldest child and her only hope for any grandchildren (my brother is completely worthless), and she's never sent me overseas before.
I decide to scare her. She knows Morocco is a fierce monarchy and that I am an exceedingly stupid person when it comes to adrenaline rushes, so she's constantly, constantly calling to make sure I've kept myself out of trouble. I figure that she'll call whether or not I stay out of trouble, so I decide to have some fun with her.
I tell her there had been a suicide bomber the summer before near the US Embassy in Casablanca. She freaks, but I'm not done. I also say that the Embassy was surrounded by Moroccan police officers, and that, despite my best efforts, US passport, broken French, and deplorable Arabic, I was told that no one, US citizen or not, was allowed into the Embassy.
Needless to say, I'm pissed, and I tell her so. She knows that my wild personality comes in, so she says, "Oh, God, Alice, you didn't!" I do it, whatever "it" means. I ask the police officers what I have to do to get some attention from the government, so I threaten to kidnap Moulay Hassan, the Crown Prince of Morocco. (All of this is actually absolutely true, and I did say this.)
If I was a Moroccan citizen, I tell her, that would be grounds for execution, right there on the street. My mother freaks, she starts crying right there on the phone, but she doesn't stop calling. Damn, this means I need to do something better to get her to leave me alone so I can enjoy my sexy Arabs in peace.
One day, a week later, I am sitting in a cafe in Marrakesh, and she calls.
I'm eating my lunch, feeding a stray cat, and laughing about swapping calculus problems with my friend and guide, Youssef, and al-Jazeera is on TV. I play it up. She asks what I am doing and I pretend to translate what I'm watching for her. She freaks about it and doesn't call again for a week. (It wasn't a real translation, but I was actually watching al-Jazeera.)
So now I've learned how to get her to stop calling. She calls at the end of the week and I am at my wits' end, thinking I need something that will give me peace for my remaining two weeks in Morocco. It finally comes to me, and knowing that she knows the Moroccans assume I am married to my friend Youssef, I run wild with this.
I tell her that there are many people vacationing in Morocco from neighboring countries, but that they are all Berber, black African, or Arab. No white people, I tell her. I am one of three in Casablanca, and my hair is the same color as the very fair-skinned Lalla Salma (the Princess Consort, but they did not believe I was her; I just had cool hair), so I am exotic. I know she feels something is about to happen, so I go ahead and come out with it. I tell her that Youssef had been complimented many times on his lovely "wife" (true), and that a visiting Saudi offered to purchase me from Youssef for 500 camels and that this is worth almost two million dollars (not true, but it is actually worth roughly that much).
She hangs up right then and there, and she does not call back the remaining two weeks of my trip. Needless to say, this success becomes a running joke of the family. Just a few days ago, she decides to pull a similar joke on my boyfriend, who is from Pakistan. His culture still offers dowries for the bride, and knowing this, my mother tells him he can have me for thirty black Angus cattle.
The icing on the cake of this year-long running practical joke? Because his culture still does dowries and because he is very sheltered, my boyfriend thinks she is serious and he actually asks her how much a black Angus cow is worth!