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November 9, 2002
The Iranian

Part 6

December 15

10:36 p.m.

Oooooffff... I've been up since 6:30 am and only made it back home 12 hours later! Hate, hate, hate the 405. Beginning to reevaluate our decision to take residence in Orange County. Seems like all the auditions worth going to are in Hollywood. Well d'uh!!!! Of course I knew that to begin with. I just didn't think the distance would be such a problem. It's not so far really. But I was really naive to the whole freeway traffic situation. Well anyway, it's definitely too soon to make any plans to relocate seeing as how it's been going lately.

A typical day for me starts with waking up at an ungodly hour (such a torture for the non-morning little me!). I have to if I want a chance in hell of beating the traffic so I can make it on time to some of these cattle calls... Oh ooopppssss did I say cattle? I meant casting calls of course! By the time I get there, there's usually a gazillion Actress/Model/Waitresses already in line, all waiting to be discovered as the next "It" girl. Nine times out of ten, they have the three Bs: Body, Beauty, and Blonde hair. Looking at them, I feel like I have about as much chance at making it as a goldfish in shark-infested waters!

After hours of waiting in line, the gates of hell finally open to momentarily let out a disheveled fellow combatant, her eyes alternatively filled with despair, disgust or worse, just plain tears. The assistant producer is on her heels, clipboard in hand, ready to call the next victim. He is usually either a fat man with a Lakers cap, a checkered shirt and jeans showing off his paunch or, in the alternative, a tall, icy beanpole with black rimmed sixties style glasses and a number of pencils sticking in her upswept do.

Once your turn arrives, you are led into a medium size studio where the only furniture is a table and two seats behind which either the casting director or the director himself is sitting, usually with a sour-faced assistant. If you are lucky, you are provided with a stool to sit on while they turn on these, bright, blinding lights on you. If the light alone hasn't managed to blind you completely, the unbearable heat from the huge light bulbs will melt all your carefully applied make-up, making your Lancome foundation drip into your eyes, and down your face. And of course, a steady diet of coffee and cigarettes will do nothing to improve your nervous state. "You speak of Divine Judgment?" asked Camus, "Allow me to laugh. I have known what is far, far worse... which is the Judgment of Men."

And here, as opposed to courts of law, there are no rules, no political correctness, no due process, no second chance. Usually, the decision has already been made the first second they have glimpsed at you. If your judges feel particularly benevolent that day, or are simply ready for a good laugh, you will be allowed to "read" for the part. Your most heartfelt performance, whether it be Shakespeare's Cordelia or Sheniqua, Steven Seagal's "love interest" in the 24th sequel to "Under Siege", is never... I repeat... NEVER allowed to conclude. You are lucky to have uttered a few syllables before the dreaded "thank you" emanates from beyond the enemy table.

If you are a glutton for punishment, you ask for a reason. This is like asking why your boyfriend has decided to dump you. Why... Oh why would you subject yourself to such heartache? After being told too many times that you are "too ethnic" (translation: not blonde), "too voluptuous" (translation: fat!), or "too sophisticated" (translation: old!!!!!!), you will soon learn to take it all with a smile, thank them right back and move on.

After a day spent hitting the pavement, you come home and wait by the phone like a lovesick teenager wondering when... oh when will that magical word "callback" materialize?

Today, one excitement among the boring old routine was running into Chloe, whom I worked with in New York. I was surprised to see that she has had a hard time too swimming with sharks, despite possessing the 3Bs. But I guess in a town full of goddesses, even Chloe feels the heat of competition. We exchanged emails and promised to keep in touch. I am sure I will run into her again one of these days.

I miss my Ali so much being away from him all day. I must admit I love having a cell phone now, since it allows me to talk to him while on the way home stuck in another 405 traffic nightmare. The great thing is we have never managed to run out of conversation. We can be discussing the most silly things, such as stupid pop trivia contests on, for example, who remembers the names of all cast members of 80s TV sitcoms. Or, we can have a passionate debate about the pros and cons of school vouchers. It all depends on our mood. Whatever we discuss, hearing Ali's voice on the other end of the line is the only thing that makes it tolerable to spend the next 45 minutes stuck in a stop and go situation just because people ahead are slowing down to take a look at an accident that has occurred on the OTHER side of the freeway. (Why they do that, I will never understand).

As soon as I step into the house, I peel my clothes off and change into my favorite pajamas then run into my love's arms. We mostly have dinner at home, some pasta (Ali's specialty) and wine, with jazz playing in the background (Wynton Marsalis, or Chet Baker). After dinner, we can end up playing takhteh (backgammon) for hours. Or watching a good late night movie. Sometimes, Ali will read his latest work out loud to me and I tell him what I like, or what I didn't find clear enough. We have become such homebodies and I love it!

Today it was raining buckets, which is very unusual in Southern California: I think they get about 3 days of rain per century!!!

I didn't have a raincoat or umbrella or anything, and finding parking on the street is a nightmare even on good days. Lo and behold, who do I see standing on the sidewalk holding an umbrella with one hand, and reading Death in Venice in the other? I started laughing.

-- "Ali!... Sarmaa mikhori azizam." I exclaimed as he got into the car.

(Ali, you will catch a cold)

But he just smiled. He wanted to drop me off in front of our building but I refused to get out.

-- "Hey! We're in this together! Just drive!"
We ended up half-running, half-tripping back to our place, completely soaked from the rain (Our umbrella was so flimsy, the wind just turned it inside out, rendering it completely useless.)

We were laughing uncontrollably when we finally made it home. Ali made a fire in the chimney, and I made some hot chocolates. Mmmmm... . It felt so good to be warm and cozy in our little nest after a trying day.

Well... Time to get into bed with my stack of industry papers. I will examine every inch of these papers, circling new "opportunities" for upcoming cattle calls with my red marker, until I fall asleep. I am so tired. My feet ache and my eyes are burning but I have to go on. After all, I see people all day long trudging back to work that they do not want to attend, whether they be construction workers or attorneys. At least, the price I am paying is for doing something with my life that I love to do. So keep on trucking, as the old song goes.


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