Story of a wasted Iranian
I'm the alpha male of this table, the alpha male
of Spain, and as far as I'm concerned, the alpha 17-year-old of planet
June 4, 2005
Dinner. Restaurant. Foreign country. I'm sitting
at a table full of rich, richer than I, private school kids, and
I don't know
why. Yes I do. My love of beautiful women has gotten me into
this mess. She (actually, all of them, but this one in particular)
is uninterested, haughty, rich, rebellious in the most superficial
sense, and drop dead beautiful; an irresistible combination if
there ever was one for a 17-year-old boy.
The restaurant is
El Botín; through the old, dark wooded interior of what
seems to be an unusually small first floor for an internationally-known
place, we head down the stairs into a cavernous rock cellar,
where our table awaits. This place apparently has something to
do with Ernest Hemingway; I don't know if he dined here or just
wrote about it or both, but it's full of tourist kids like us
and old Spaniards. The whole place is teeming with bottles of
wine; fat, thin, tall, short, naked or casketed in straw and
almost all dark, they abound on tables, in the wall, on waiter's
trays. I wanna order something. What is everybody having?
As I fantasize about the various drinks I could order, I realize
that this is the first time in my life that I've felt as if I actually
need some alcohol in my system. Being around this crowd for the
past hour has not been a comfortable experience. These heads at
the table are not my people; they laugh too late or too early,
they laugh at things that aren't that funny, their laughter is
followed by a palpable, immediate silence that magnifies the din
The waiter, small and pale and droopy eyed, appears
out of thin air. Yes, let's definitely order a couple of pitchers
of sangría. He vanishes. It's an eternity before
the pitchers, dishearteningly small but full of promise, arrive
at our table. We toast and most put their drink down after an approving
sip. I'm not so sure this will do the trick for me, so I call for
reinforcements; a glass of Fundador covers all my bases. We're
in Spain and I've read Hemingway; this is what a real man orders
I down the glass amateurishly, and the brandy boils in
my throat and creates a bitter tingle across my tongue. I hope
I'll start acting like the real man I am -- real soon. So far
I've been shut down completely by the short attention spans and
small talk of these girls. They're still talking about
the ordeals of being in a top Catholic private school: don't
you hate it when (something Maziar has never
experienced and totally cannot relate to) happens?
I finish my
glass and pour myself another. Oh but it was great when we (something
Maziar never got to do because his public school is cheap AND broke),
wasn't it? This sangría is great. Damn, I spilled... How
do they expect us to pour accurately into these small glasses?
I taking more than my share? It's ok, if I wasn't drinking
this much I'd have to leave the building immediately... but
I feel great now. So guys, what's private school like? Do they
make you learn about the Bible and stuff? Are the nuns mostly lesbians?
That's just what I've heard. Do you have nuns?
I can't believe I've been missing how interesting this
conversation is. Everyone has something to say. Ha ha, that was
funny There's this one kid, way too flamboyant and sassy to not
be gay, leading the thread of conversation, and it seems jumping
from one subject to the other with obnoxious disregard for anyone
else, especially the haughty hot girls. More power to you man.
I hated his conversation-hijacking guts an hour ago, but... now
he's just... hilarious.
I realize that I've been leaning forward
with my mouth kind of open for what's probably been a long time.
I recoil in disgust and lean back into my chair, warm, drunk, and
supremely confident. The only other guy at this table has got to
be gay and I am surrounded by now-inebriated California babes.
I'm the alpha male of this table, the alpha male of Spain, and
as far as I'm concerned, the alpha 17-year-old of planet Earth.
Not like that will matter to this alpha girl when she's back
in the US of A.
I'm all too aware that the reason that Miss Hot,
Rich, and Mean is interested in me right now is because of where
we are, a place
where experiences can be had, left far behind, and made novel.
Like the glass of Fundador, I'll be something desirable and even
sought after for her to drink in while she's out in this unknown
territory. Back in the States, there are kids who wear the best
outfits during the weekdays, have the means to have a good, expensive
time every weekend, and are rebellious and unconventional, but
not too much so. They are the Bacardi to my Fundador. Attitudes,
places, and people will go 'back to normal'. After reflecting on
this, the only thing I really have to say on the matter is: dude,
I'm totally ok with that. As long as I can make out with this incredibly
hot, evil girl Tonight. Let's get some more sangría.
For now I just look at her. For now I just look at her, and I
look and look some more, my eyes occasionally drifting over to
for comparison. There is none. Well, maybe there is, but I am
way too infatuated and inebriated at this point to admit it. I
shamelessly, tirelessly, and as she continues to ignore me I
feel my stare softening to a resigned gaze. I take in her jet black
hair, spilling past her shoulders and darkening her whole upper
body, her radiant brown skin, her soft but assertive nose, the
aristocratic lips that deign to speak only when a comment that
matches her lordly contempt of all things not associated with
comes to mind, and the eyes that refuse even to go that far and
communicate anything whatsoever to me.
I look away to search
for the waiter and when my eyes return there they are; I've caught
her. The food arrives.
The rest is somewhat anti-climactic.
The gay kid awkwardly makes out with one of the girls and pisses
in the street, both
way home from the restaurant. Or did that happen on a different
night? Wow, if that didn't happen that night, then the rest
is extremely anti-climactic. Then again, I was pretty wasted
don't really remember the remainder of the evening, probably
I didn't make out with anyone. I most likely collapsed in
my bed that night, visions of unlikely but highly exhilarating
lovemaking in my restless head. That's it. But the events
night and the trip itself would, I think, make a good story.
This story would, amazingly, contrast with the inconsequential
nature of that evening. Of course there would be more awkward
kissing, but this time even more drunkenly with that willowy
of surpassing beauty and infinitely intoxicating features,
with a heart as unintelligible as her eight-page letters.
and death would all happen.
Life and love: a boy returns
home from a dream trip that made him feel like a man and over
of a few months finds himself losing his head three times
succession over three different women, discovering disappointment
in his first
love, despair in the despot, and supreme gratification
in an amazing friend. Death: the only other guy at the table,
who was able to
effortlessly dominate the chatter of the snobbish queens,
falls off a spiritual precipice. His physical life follows after
a few years. The nameless, seductive, and chatty supporting
dissolve out of the story as subtly as they figured into
It's not the most compelling story. In one man's universe,
however, it is a trip to think that so many memories,
life events, decisions,
people, sensations, and feelings all have a common ancestor
in a socially awkward night ameliorated by diluted red
it's just because they were all so attractive, especially
her, and catching her eye set off irreversible chemical
reactions in me. As shallow as it sounds, that could be it.
after all, life-changing every time, if only for the
moment itself, right? I'll just go with both conclusions.