New York, Monday, September 5
9: 25 a.m.
Late at work again. God damn I hate this place. Every morning when I wake
up I remember what a sell-out I am, what an easy way out I took. Well it
was actually pretty hard. I mean, I had to make the decision to break up
with Ross and not move to Los Angeles with him. Since he left, he has not
called me to this day. That was four years ago. We met in college: He was
in film school, I majored in drama. My roommate was a crew member for a
short film he was working on and asked me if I was interested in donating
my free acting services. The rest is history as they say.
Anyway, after graduation, I tried to audition here and there but no dice.
And my money was running out. And I was faced with the threat of moving
back to the burbs with mAmAn and bAbA joon. Or leave everything and follow
Ross to Los Angeles where he had actually been given a deal with one of
the studios there. On the basis of his last year's "thesis" short
film. In which I starred in. It was all black and white and very abstract.
But I guess he was riding on the wave of the new craze back then for independent
Anyway, I have never really liked the idea of "following" anybody.
I thought I should make it on my own. Or maybe I just didn't love him enough.
That was his explanation. Along with equally hurtful comments about my hypocrisy,
the fact that I claimed independence yet I really was too scared to venture
too far away from the nest. Well, so what if that's true? I am not ashamed
to admit I love my mAmAn and bAbA Joon and the fact that they are only a
train ride away. I just don't want to live with them. Doesn't mean I ought
to escape from them.
Anyway, back to work. After realizing that the New York waitress-actress
cliche was not going to work for me (I could just hear my mom:"In hameh
tahssilAt ke beri kolfate mardom beshi???") I decided to enroll in
a paralegal certification program. My mom had hoped I would go to law school
but I thought that would be too much of a sell-out. At least this way, it
was still a compromise. I would not be committed enough in my job to think
of it as a career, and meanwhile on the week-ends I would continue to go
to auditions. Well. Needless to say, I have not gotten so much as a commercial
for these past four years! (Sigh).
And I increasingly fantasize about punching my boss Mr. Grolpy in the
face every time I see his hateful silhouette "just happening to walk
by" my desk. (He is checking to see if I am doing my work of course!
Damn this pink leather and black fur trimmed diary, if it looked like a
normal book I could pretend I am just doing work here).
Mr. Grolpy is a generations-old New Yorker. In his seventies, he is short
and stout, with a big belly and weirdly disproportionate short arms. His
hair is a greas-gray, combed over his bald spot in the most disconcerting
manner. He always leaves his jacket off and walks around in his eternally
striped shirts with suspenders. Maybe he models himself after that guy from
CNN? You know the one, he had like eight wives or something. No not Henry
VIII, that's going back a bit too far even for Mr. Grolpy. I hate it when
I have someone's name on the tip of my tongue. Ewww. Just got nasty image
in my head involving tongue and Mr. Grolpy and old guy from CNN. Must chase
away ugly image and reintroduce happy happy thoughts. Oh but I can't right
now, I have to continue explaining about the 0ffice.
Well anyway, this guy Grolpy, I bet he is the kind of guy who still wears
socks suspenders under his pants. Grolpy is a lawyer who has practiced for
the last 40 years in real estate and wills law. So you can imagine the degree
of excitement in the office. No unisex bathrooms and hunky lawyer types
a la "Ally McBeal" for us here. Nor the gritty realistic life
and death situations of "Law and Order". (Okay, I am a courtroom
TV show addict).
Anyways with my luck, he was deciding to go into immigration just a few
years ago when he hired me. No doubt because of my language skills. I don't
know what possessed him to start a new practice in this old age but as long
as I get paid, I don't ask too many questions. And turns out he has many
Iranian clients (what a surprise!) which fortunately means he can't fire
me for now, even though I am coming to work later and later every day.
The only ray of light in this cubicle nightmare of an office (it is like
a maze where they dumped us all rats to scurry around in exchange for our
bi-weekly piece of cheese) is Nancy, Mr. Grolpy's receptionist. Nance is
thirty-years old, a petite blond with short hair and a small frame, kind
eyes, warm smile, very soft-spoken. We became instantly friendly
and when we found out our Iranian "connection": You see, her husband
Hossein is Iranian.
Nance is the embodiement of all I wish to be (Serene wife of loving Iranian
husband and mother of two lovely kids) and yet at the same time all that
I shy away from. Her life is so stable and nice, and I always am filled
with happiness and calm when I spend the odd Sunday at her house, a true
nest of cordial family values. That's the problem though. I only feel the
need for that kind of environment on the odd Sunday or two. And usually,
by the time those visits finally end (we play board games with the kids
and order pizza and watch videos), it is not with regret but with a true
feeling of contentment that I return to my little hole-in-the wall in the
I love being able to go for drinks with Manny and Bruce at the end of
a stressful day; check out the latest nightclub, gallery, or play; splurge
on that little black dress by Nicole Miller; flirt with dark mysterious
guys... All without worrying about baby-sitters or mortgage payments. I
guess I am just way too selfish right now to take care of other human beings
who will rely on me... Yet, everytime I see a baby in a stroller I feel
my ovaries twist inside of me with longing. Maybe some things you never
feel ready for so you might as well jump in with both feet. Plus, it would
make my mAmAn so ecstatic!
Nance and I went to lunch and soaked up the last rays of the Indian summer
sitting on a bench in Washington Square Park. It is our favorite lunch place
in the summer. "By the way Naz Joon" (I love her accent!), Nance
says between bites of her tuna sandwich, "don't forget to mark your
calendar Sunday the 25th, we are having a little thing for Hossein's birthday."
She adds after a little soft laugh: "Nothing like your Mexican bash
last Saturday, you know, the kids will be there. (The kids are cute-as-a-button
Layla, 6-years old, and Jeegar-delicious little Hamid, 4). It will be pizza
and cake and lots of party hats and balloons." I smile. Just the kind
of party I need to put me back on track. Maybe along with sunrays, I can
soak up some of that maturity and stability.