April 25, 2003
"EEE eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee EEEEEEEEEEE eeeeeeeeeeeee EEEEEEEEE
No, that screeching sound that makes dogs freeze in their tracks,
birds fall off their nests, and car windows break into thousands
of pieces is not from the legendary Yeti finally descending from
his Himalaya mountains to heap destruction on our world. It is what
two female humans utter upon sight after not having seen each other
for a long time.
My best friend Manny is visiting from New York and we have just
spotted each other at LAX airport.
After the "EEeeeeEEEee" sound subsides, it gives way
to a rapid staccato rhythm dialogue uttered by Manny and me simulatneously.
We are trying to catch up on everything all at once in the space
-- "Naz!!! I can't be..."
-- "Manny I have so mm..."
-- "...lieve it final..."
-- "..uch to tell y..."
-- "...ly, I'm here..."
Get the picture?
A few hours later, after luggage is dropped off at home, we are
sitting in the very "Eye-ranian" patio of the Starbucks
on Hayvenhurst and Ventura: Where else can two gals really do justice
to "coffee talk" and at the same time scope out the opposite
Starbucks coffee shops in Hell-Ay are a very interesting phenomenon.
They seem to be populated night and day by Iranians, which always
makes me wonder when do all these "doctors" find time
to see patients? Girls come here overly made-up and in the latest
Prada, Gucci or whatever, then proceed to sit down with a pile of
books and pretend they are very focused and not noticing the deafening
noise and various members of the opposite genders checking them
out from afar. Men usually come in packs, maybe 3, 4, 5. They loudly
discuss "bee-zee-ness deals" and bray on their cell phones...
while of course checking out the overly made-up female student nearby
who's got one eyelash pointed to Nietszche's And Thus Spoke
Zarathustra, and the other pointed flirtatiously at her potential
The older male Iranian crowd usually sits inside the Satrbucks
and engages in chess or backgammon games for hours on end. Their
wives meanwhile are inside the usually adjacent Barnes and Noble,
Starbucks cappucino in hand, browsing the shelves and annoying real
readers with their loud cell phone conversations ("Maryam joon!
Kojayee, pashoo biya inja?"). Oh, and don't think the kids
are being left out! They are set free in the kiddie section of the
aforementioned Barnes and Noble where they proceed to mercilessly
manhandle every toy, book, or gizmo available, to the great annoyance
of the other patrons.
If you think I sound bitter, I am not. Over the months I have
spent here on the West Coast, I have observed in fascination my
compatriots's mating rituals and other social endeavours, not unlike
an anthropologist discovering for the first time the secrets of
the Maori tribes.
But back to Manny and me.
This is like two runners just getting warmed up for their marathon.
-- "You go first..."
-- "No you..."
-- "Okay, well..."
And it's on. Even though Manny and I have kept in touch all these
months through email, and quick phone calls, it just is better to
dish in person. So I re-confirm to her that Ali and I are, yes,
over. Dating scene? Complete disaster as usual. The Gavin guy, I
haven't heard from since Artie's birthday. On-the-Dot Dariush has
for the first time broken his on-the-dot schedule of calling me
every day at the same time. Actually, he has completely ceased his
communication altogether, ever since I saved him from choking on
a fishbone at dinner, which makes me feel both relieved and at the
same time annoyed: I mean, how ungrateful can you be?
As for Manny, well, the more successful she gets at her job (she
does PR for Manhattan's glitziest party spots), the more she hates
-- "It's all so... PHONY! I hate it, Naz..."
Her music, which she considers her true calling, is getting nowhere,
so she has decided to come to the West Coast and browse through
her contacts here to see if there is any better opportunities in
Tinseltown. That would thrill me to no end, not only because I think
she is truly talented musician and singer, but I would get to have
my best friend back!
For tonight though, our only plan is to party, party, party...Just
like the old times!!!
I usually hate Sunset Boulevard. It is so touristy and plastic,
not to mention I feel like an ancient grandmother compared to the
young and beautiful 12 year olds hanging out at Miyagi's, Dublin,
and all the other hot spots.
And traffic, forget it! I am sorry, but I am done with the whole
cruising thing. My idea of fun is not to be stuck beside a two seater
car filled with 9 Latino guys with the same gelled back hair, making
kissy noises (and other more obscene gestures) at me.
Manny's energy is irrepressible though. And at least, with her,
I am not worried about any line-ups or other bothersome things.
She just walks her stiletto boots up to the bouncer and plants that
smile of hers on him... Bam! We're in!
At 4 a.m., as we are staggering back to the apartment, consumed
with giggles over the events of the night, I suddenly feel so melancholy
and begin to cry.
-- "Naz, what's wrong hon???"
Manny quickly sits by me, her comforting arms around me.
-- "I don't know, Manny joon, sometimes, I feel that... I don't
know... Life is passing me by, you know?"
She smiles with understanding.
-- "Believe me, I know. But right now, I think you just need
to get some sleep okay? We will talk about it in the morning."
TO BE CONTINUED.
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