For some reason my mother has moved into the “play dumb” part of her repertoire. Playing dumb means asking relentless and generally totally pointless questions about things she either already knows the answer to or could figure out easily.

It is a way of making conversation when she senses she is bugging my ass and I’d like some quiet time. In other words, it’s an attempt to engage me and get under my skin for reasons known only to her.

Some of the questions of the last 24 hours:

1. What knife should I use to cut the bread? (The bread knife that’s sitting right in front of you on the table).

2. What size cutting board should I use? (There are three sitting on the counter. Pick one.)

3. Why don’t you have a box of Kleenex on the main floor? (I’ve never really thought about it.)

4. Don’t you think you should have a bottle of moisturizer in the powder room? Some people like to moisturize after washing their hands. (Heavy sigh. “Piss off,” muttered under my breath.)

5. Is that woman singing on “Regis and Kelly” black or white? Is she a mulatto? What do you mean don’t use that word? Is that word not allowed now? (No, it is not allowed. Stop using it)

This moves us into the new phase of  behaviour, Worshipping Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa.  Read on, after the jump.

1. Have you seen Regis’s new grandchild? (No. I haven’t been invited over.)

2. Isn’t it great how much Mark Consuelos adores Kelly Ripa? (Me: I have heard they are having serious marital problems.  Hagatha: They ARE NOT!! You bite your tongue! Don’t you dare say that!”

3. Did you know Regis’s son from his first marriage lives in Washington? (No). Did you know he was in the Pentagon on Sept. 11? (N0.) Did you know Regis and Joy were very worried about him? (N0.) Did you know he was in a wheelchair? (Me: No. I didn’t even know Regis had a son. I guess the kids from the second marriage were more important. Hagatha: That’s a TERRIBLE thing to say about Regis! He’s not like that!)

4. If that woman on Regis is actually a black woman, why is she bleaching her hair? Why would a black woman do that? Is she ashamed to be black? This is why I thought she was mulatto, just like Halle Berry. (And your hero, Barack Obama. I think black women, like any other women, are allowed to do whatever they want with their hair without it meaning they are ashamed to be black. And please stop using the word mulatto.)

5. Did you know Regis’s daughters both write for comedy shows? Have you ever seen Regis’s daughters? They’re so pretty. OH LOOK!! LOOK!! COME QUICK!!! Here they are now!!! Regis’s daughters and Joy are on RIGHT NOW!! QUICK!!! QUICK!!! (I DON’T CARE.)

This all took place as I was making a pumpkin pie. Which lead to its own set of questions.

1. Why aren’t you using evaporated milk? That’s what my recipe calls for. (I am just following this award-winning recipe from the Washington Post.)

2. Why would you make your own pastry? I just use the frozen shells. (Some people prefer home-made pastry. I am one of them.)

3. Why aren’t you using allspice? My recipe calls for allspice! (My recipe calls for ginger, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon. It won an award, this recipe.)

4. You’re using that many eggs? My recipe only calls for one! (As mentioned, I am just following this award-winning recipe from the Washington Post.)

5. Should we go for a walk by the path along the creek? (Sure. Can I drown you?)