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July 2002

Cell phone fever

Coiled at the bottom of every girl's purse is a cell phone that by and large determines the forward movement of her day. My new love is the Nokia 9290. It does everything from registering my biannual dental appointments to capturing sound bites as I walk around the city. I edit my home movies on its considerable LCD screen. The phone, which has a full keypad when you open it up, projects the moving image with absolute clarity.

The only thing about it, and this was noted early on in the
New York Times, is that people may think you a little retarded as you walk around talking on it. That is because the phone's keypad faces out when you hold the phone to your ear. Any common passer by would think that they could come up and call their mom on it for all I know. It's bulky, too, so it looks a little, let's say, "unsettling" in the creased khakis Wall Street boys wear as their weekend wear.

On one balmy evening last week, I walked out of the cinema with a bunch of my girlfriends after watching the spectacular New Zealand flick,
Rain. We all kind of looked at each other a little dazed, still sipping our chilled lattés, and wondered out loud: "Who suggested this movie, anyway? It was just tremendous, wasn't it?" No one really owned up, which is saying something when you're with a bunch of self-centered, self-congratulating women with smarts.

So I wondered if this whole get-together wasnŪt somehow managed and coordinated by our cell phones. That is, without either of us even taking the initiative. Then I started thinking, what if technologies such as the new Nokia could be developed so that they accommodate certain personal -- and therefore also certain specifically ethnic or national -- needs. So that in our cases our phones, that had been programmed to know that we would need company on Tuesday nights, and specifically Persian company, would arrange, on our collective behalfs, to bring us to a movie that would strike a cord in all of us. Because who would have known otherwise that a Kiwi flick was exactly what we all needed to see along with a bunch of other Persians?

Madame Bayaz' astrological predictions this month are charged with precisely this enigma. That is to tell you how your astrologically attuned cell phone has been programmed to satisfy, with precision, a need that is all your own.

Mme Bayaz

Farvardin: Aries

Your compulsive nature is riding you this month, Aries, so I've worked on your cell phone to curb all your excessive urges. All your long distance calls to friends and family in Iran and in the West are being taped. They'll be played back to you when you hang up each and ever time. Rrrring÷.It's boring old, frumpy, old, pathetic , old you calling÷ YOU! Evil, isn't it? This way you'll know how often you repeat yourself about your miserable life. And guess what? Maybe you'll learn how much others suffer at the other end of the line. Who wants to listen to all that?

Ordibehesht: Taurus

Practically speaking, there's nothing that your newly restored celly can't do for you, darling Taurus. It'll schedule diaper changes for the baby, take note of what gets eaten up in the refrigerator and dial up the neighborhood grocer with your order. It will either call the locksmith the minute your forget your keys in the house or if you have the 2002 model, it'll provide you with the option to break open the lock with the build in gadget that kind of looks like a hairpin. Yes, you've got too much to do, and too little time and you are certainly distracted, so we've made sure to cover all the bases in case you forget. A little treat for you is also in store. The cell phone produces (nightly) two rose scented cotton pads to restore your poor, tired eyes. You'll always to sleep with the scent of Shiraz in your soul.

Khordad: Gemini

Friday nights may just end up being the toughest for you this month. Everyone is out of town and you have to stay and work. But Friday nights are the nights that you do your performances, whether they be in band or on a theatrical stage, or at a karaoke bar. The thing is, no one's around to appreciate your brilliant performances. So Madame Bayaz, in all her foresight, has arranged an audience for you. Buried in one of the new chips in your cell phone is a phone book full of names of interested, interesting, enthusiastic men and women in your city who with no particular motivation that they know of, end up where you're performing on Friday night all summer long. One of them, an attractive one, will inevitably be inspired to send you an e-note on your cell, telling you how fab you truly are and asking you to go out for chelokabab on the following Thursday. It's beautiful isn't it? I imagine you'll be worn out by the end of June, but I promise, it'll go on for as long as you stick to your current mobile service provider. You'll always GO to sleep.

Tir: Cancer

Suggestive as this might seem, I'm thinking you need me for precisely this, this month. Take your cell phone with you to the mountain top you climb on weekends and watch it connect to a network for a change. The connection, mind you, is exclusively spiritual in nature. That is of the spirit world. For some reason, you've been chosen this month to hook into the Malagazi network, which is an ancient and cultivated spiritualism that has returned now in a technological guise. With your cell phone way up there, you can ask and get answers to every question you've ever wanted to ask and never dared in your life. Say, for example, you want to know why Persian toes (of all things), are always callused, unshapely and inward caving÷ kind of like they want to ride on one another, taking comfort in ugly numbers. The Malagazi network will be happy to indulge with the needful information. Of course, if you want to know the purpose of life, click on the "Fashion" button under Menu. You'll find that all the newest trends in clothing from Paris to Toronto for the next five years are available to you right there on the mountain-top. And shopping, the purpose of life, is on 24-7.

Mordad: Leo

Can I congratulate you for taking yourself out of circulation this month? The stars have it that you like Pisces will have to do without that wonderful gadget this month, but unlike Pisces, it will not be because you're an insult to the word "human". Quite the contrary, you'll overcome humanness sometime between the night of the 3rd and the morning of the 4th by having the cell chip installed in the back of your neck as you dream. The chip, will communicate somewhat less frivolously than Cancer up there with the spirit world, to cast light on the path of your future. As you dream, the cyborg-Persian that you've become will evaluate all your job, living, partnership etc. options and pick exactly the combination of life choices that fit perfectly to you temperament, your city of origin, your culinary tastes, your sensibilities in love÷ you name it. What this does, as comforting as the outlook might be from where we stand today, is that you will be unable to relate to anyone else. In that everyone, born under another astrological sign will be struggling with the same old, dreary issues all month long. Does she love? Will they offer me the job? What shall wear? Will I ever be rich? Do I dare to eat a peach? You÷only you will know your destiny. Your question of the month will be this, however: What else is there to live for?

Shahrivar: Virgo

If you happen to, in your distraction, mindlessly plug in that cell phone and charge the battery to its fullest this month, you'll find that the next time you use it to call out, you'll experience a slight delay as a beat or two of an old 70's Googoosh tune plays in your ear. You're not on hold, trust me. You're sampling and recollecting this month and as you do, I thought that we should keep you on your toes and up on your musical knowledge, too. In order for the call to go through, actually, you'll have to guess the correct name of the tune you just heard. If you punch in wrong, you'll get two more tries and then on the fourth try, the phone will hang up. The thing is, Virgo, that all this sampling of history, your personal history, has you caught you up in you and you alone. That's where most people are, come to think of it, so they just donŪt want to hear all your stuff, all the time. If you play right, and Madame Bayaz knows that you will, you'll get to talk to your friends by and by. And they'll be delighted in filling in some of those blanks in memory that seem to perpetuate themselves as you age.

Mehr: Libra

Cascading waterfalls, sumptuous meals by the ocean, the sand between your toes on the beach at twilight, a spectacular rainbow after a summer shower. You're craving all that right about now, but you can't afford it just yet. So the best I could do was to have your cell phone programmed to research all the flights to Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands for the Spring of 2005. When the price falls somewhere below 125 US dollars, an agency will call you with your pre-booked flight. Meanwhile, enjoy the slides I've installed on your cell phone as screen-savers. Aren't those waterfalls beautiful? I threw in a few slides of the bridges of Isfahan, because in addition to the wanderlust you're experiencing, you're also being rather nostalgic about the homeland.

Aban: Scorpio

Lonely? Well dialing 1-900-TALK-TO-ME-DAHhhLING won't help your case any! I've asked the technician to attach a new gadget to your cell phone. Every time you start off with the 1-900 number÷ The cell-screen will slide open and a pair of tiny finger cuffs will pop out -- "chi-ching" --around your ring finger and thumb. You're caught! You'll think twice about cheating when the cat's away, little mouse.

Azar: Sagittarius

You're the talkative one this month. But, I urge you to put away your cell phone for once and save your friends from having to deal with your joyful, delightful and jubilant spirit. I've maneuvered it so that each phone call on your cell will turn your talk to poetry. It'll then dump it on the new Iranian.com radio website and let someone else hear you out instead. Your friends are so done listening. They're too traumatized to hear you go on and on about how great your life is. Oh, and how IN LOVE you are. Hey, but look at the bright side (as if you wouldn't), you have a whole new world of friends to make.

Dey: Capricorn

You wouldn't believe it, but the cell phone the Nextel gal sold you the other day has your name written all over it. At least for this month. Nextel's new model has a veritable advieh cabinet installed in its virtual storage space. You dial 6 and you get rose water. You dial 9 and you have your tumeric. You dial one and the sumack is right there. Yes, you're in the cooking mode again this month, Capricorn, and your mobile is your best friend. If you check the menu button, you'll also find that we've uploaded the great Nushe-Jan cookbook for your culinary pleasures.

Bahman: Aquarius

Boredom doesn't become you. And your obsessive-compulsive behaviors would be better channeled through the arts and crafts this month. If you scroll down the menu list on your "handy" this month you'll find that I've added "flashcards" as one menu item and "fruit peeling patterns" as another. The flashcards will teach you new German words, like "handy" for cell phone, and "Brot" for bread, all good terms for trips abroad that won't happen anytime soon. But the fruit peeling patterns are exclusively about binding you to your national culture. When the guests come, and they will ALL come this month, I urge you to take out your cell phone and instead of avoiding conversations by calling some acquaintance, look to the fruit peeling patterns for escape. The directions will tell you exactly how to peel the orange and what patterns you can cut into the strawberries. You'll impress everyone with your newfound artsy talent. It's the perfect thing for Persian gatherings, as fruit is always the last thing to come to the table, after the long, drawn out, and repetitive conversations you remember having with the same people the night before. Isn't technology peerless?

Esfand: Pisces

Something tells me that you've got this love-hate relationship going with your mobile. It gives people access to you (which you hate), but it let's you off the hook when you actually get together with them for an evening of play and pleasure (and this, you love). It rings and you can get up and go outside and talk to someone else with a clear conscience. And, so, you don't even have to deal with who's right in front of you. Right on! What a brilliant performance! And it is perfect for you, isn't it? But here's what I've done to keep you happy, Pisces. 'Cause, you know, people are catching on to the act. I've wrecked the damn thing, so you don't have to deal at all. It won't ring... and there'll be some outgoing message about some trip you had to make to some outpost in the suburbs of Qazvin. And the thing is, with the cell now wrecked, you won't even have the money to get a new one. You see, the program we have installed to wreck the phone, has a few side effects. As its wrecking itself, the cell phone automatically withdraws all your savings and dumps it in your nicknamed friends' accounts. It does the transfer anonymously so that they, at least, can go out and enjoy themselves ÷ at your expense.. but without you there to ignore them. Didn't you say something about being popular, sympathetic to human needs and, oh, something about, appearing to be gregarious? Well, the "cell wreck and withdrawal" program will do it all for you, without the hassles of human contact. Who said you had to put up with all that taarufing? --Madame Bayaz

Some useful terms

Advieh= spices

Chelokabab=Persian rice and meat dish

Taaruf= "No, no, after you! After you. No, really, after you. I mean it!" "No ghorban, I've already eaten." "Oh, please take it. It's yours. God forbid I'd take any money for it." "And how are your parents? And you
grandparents? Is you great aunt still in Kurasan? And your close friend from highschool? How is he anyway?" ---You get the picture.

To contact Madame Bayaz write to: mme_bayaz@yahoo.com

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