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February 7, 2003
The Iranian

Part 18

March 6
4 p.m.

Teeth... grinding... uncontrollably... Arrrgghhhh... Oh my god... Head feels like an elephant is living inside... And to make matters worse, elephant has a bad case of diarrhea! I do not dare look at myself in the mirror. Last time I did, I think my eyes were the size of watermelons and my teeth... Oh those are just the worst... I cannot stop grinding them and grinding them... I may be grinding them to the gums! Oh Nazanin, Nazanin, Nazanin, when is this childish irresponsible behavior going to end? I am so ashamed at myself just at the thought of poor Baabaa's horrified face if he knew what his žlittle" girl was up to instead of settling down like a good matronly Iranian Lady with a husband named Asghar or Fereydoun, and a litter of kids with Persian middle-names and Anglo first names who win math trophies and early admission at Harvard... . Pheeeeeeewwwww...

Last night started out innocently enough. We went to Elena's Greek Armenian Restaurant in Glendale to celebrate Artie's birthday. Me, Chloe, Artie's parents, and a half-dozen of his friends, some colleagues from his salon and others. Not to mention Artie's boyfriend Edmond but since Artie has not come out to his traditional Armenian parents, Edmond was relegated to the other end of the table along with Artie's co-workers. And I think I was supposed to play the part of the good Middle-Eastern girlfriend for mom and dad.

To look at Artie, you would never know that he was Armenian. But Artie is actually short for Artaches. Little Artaches grew up in Hell-Ay since the age of 3, coming from the Motherland with already bushy black eyebrows and thick afro like hair in tow. Today, his long, wavy blonde hair, which he dyes, and his total Valley accent, could make him pass for Jeff Spicone. Although he has long forgotten any snippets of his native language, he does have a weakness for Armenian delights and boy was this the right place to go.

Elena's place is Yummy with a capital Y. You wouldn't think it by the looks of it. It is basically a hole in the wall with just 8 or 9 tables. But the food! It is fit for Charles Aznavour! Elena is a woman who is Armenian but grew up in Greece and cooks both cuisines excellently. After filling our stomachs with the delicious appetizers, freshly hot out of the oven pita bread and hummus, tatziki and baba ghaboush galore, we could not resist her delicious chicken kebabs, which is grilled with God only knows what reddish spices that make it explode with flavor. Not hot type of spicy, just flavorful. And of course the Luleh, a marinated type of ground beef that is served with yellow rice pilaf and potatoes (both are great), a cooked tomato and a cooked green chili. A con was they didn't serve alcohol but with my recent out of control behavior, I am thankful for that now.

Things were going well until we decided to ditch the family and party out in Long Beach. I should have known things would take a turn for the worst right then. Whenever I have gone to Long Beach, whether for New Year's Eve, or for Shohreh's art gallery party, it's ended up a disaster. But hey the majority wanted to go to Cohibo's and the majority won out.

Now the club itself was awesome (from what I remember of it!). Atop Mum's restaurant, it has a rooftop bar and dance floor which plays techno and electronica that you can really get lost in. And of course offers the most fabulous cigars and martinis I have ever tasted. There is also a pool room and hip hop lounge inside containing mostly fat white girls and their ghetto boyfriends. Quite a contrast. But the music is equally great and I found myself alternating between the rooftop patio and the inside lounges quite often.

We were partying, having a good time. Edmond, Artie and Chloe dropped some E and offered me as well but I declined. Although I have tried pretty much everything under the sun, I just wasn't in the mood that night plus I had never tried that little white pill before and to experiment for the first time in a public place did not strike me as a particularly wise idea.

That's when he showed up. About an hour after our gang had arrived at the club, who do I see walk in all smiles and sexy eyes and dirty blonde hair but Gavin, the guy who asked me out weeks before? I turned to Chloe and hissed between my teeth:

-- "Chloe! I told you I don't want to be set up by you, why can't you respect that?"

My roommate turned to me and casually said:

-- "Don't worry Naz, I did not ask him for you... I asked him for me."

At the double take I made, she sighed in a whiny tone:

-- "Well what do you expect? You blew him off! And he's cute and single... And so am I."

Without further ado, she traipsed across the dance floor to greet him, planting a kiss on his cheek and dragging him away in the direction of the bar. He only had time to do a quick wave before he disappeared into the crowd.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrr... Why am I so angry? I mean, I had the chance to go out with him and I didn't, that much is true. But... Maybe I just can't stand people eating too delicious a morsel right under my nose.

I decided to turn my back, close my eyes and just get into the music and let loose. When I went to the ladies' room to freshen up, I bumped into Edmond who was coming out of the men's room. Smiling from ear to ear, he took my hand and led me in a dark corner where he proceeded to put a white pill in my hand.

-- "Naz... You have to... With this music, it will just burn you up... "

Burn me up it did not. Grind me down it did.

I must be the only person in the world who gets MORE nerve-wrecked on drugs. While Chloe and a bunch of half naked men and women, eyes bulging and beatific smiles on their face, were grooving to the music and giving total strangers massages (and more!) on the dance floor and every corner of the club, I, on the other hand, completely froze. I started sweating, then hyperventilating. I somehow got paranoid and suspicious of these happy go lucky buffoons around me as if they were body snatchers intending to suck the life out of me and make me one of their own.

After taking refuge in the icky bathroom with my head between my legs, I decided I'd had enough and tried to make my way out but I stumbled around a corner, dizzied by an oncoming group of dancers and was about to fall on my butt when I suddenly found unexpected support in the form of an arm around my waist.

-- "Naz are you okay?" A southern-accented male voice asked with concern.

Before I could figure out who among my friends was a cowboy from Texas, Gavin had turned me around to face him.

His latest in a series of accents would have made me giggle in a more normal time but now it only served to freak me out more.

-- "I... I have to go home Gavin... "

-- "No problem, I'll take you home darling!"

And off we were. In his car, I pushed the seat as far back as I could and closed my eyes, visualizing my safe room and bed and trying not to be overcome by my petrified feelings. My limbs were shaking all over. Gavin, with one hand on the wheel, managed to get his jacket off and put it on top of me. He held my hand and rubbed it gently the rest of the way. Twice, we almost stopped because I thought I was going to be sick. But fortunately, God had decided I had humiliated myself enough for one evening.

When we got home, Gavin came up with me. He tucked me into bed and brought me some water but even that I couldn't ingest.

-- "Just make sure you sleep on your side darling" my sweet Texan whispered žIn case you get sick in your sleep."

In the romance sweepstakes, I was definitely the champ!!!


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