We take pleasure...
October 7, 1998
First published in Kayhan International, circa 1969:
Abadan can pull at your heart strings when you remember only the good times in fine weather by the tall palm trees fringing the blue sky and when today is the first day of the rest of your life in a make-believe desert oasis.
Commander Whitehead once said work is a necessity of the mind but leisure is enjoyment of the senses. Leisure in Abadan can be a pleasure of your own making when free time cutouts from the moments of memory are mixed sensations of sight and sound, taste and touch in a rich oil town smelling of refined oil and sweet petrochemicals.
The best shot in the arm and boost to the adrenalin is the flicks. A color film on a rectangular screen with the sound of music, surrounded by the darkening evening sky full of stars makes the Hollywood opiate work like a charm.
Seated on tubular chairs with feet resting on the empty canvas chair in front, and with a good stretch of the imagination, you could be sitting in the over-stuffed plush seats of Joshua Logan or Elia Kazan or Billy Wilder's private home cinema. Only the orange flares on your right place you squarely in Abadan at the Naft Club. On evenings when the film is a lemon, you can look up and watch the stars.
Another form of loosening the reins but not the imagination is group gatherings which are period places of his and hers, theirs and ours with a uniformity that has changed little since the formula was stamped on the town in the fifties.
Pistachio nuts and cigarettes fill the gap between drinks and a standard dinner menu of catered white rice, hot curry, roast chicken, charcoal kabab, green salad and creme caramel is part of the evening's tradition. The atmosphere is one of close-knit family who have become too used to the place to make a real break for the hills.
But in February, heedless of summer to come and to the tune of every cloud has a silver lining, we live in a happy season. Just one month of grace before Tehran relatives descend on Abadan and in anticipation of a Nowruz bonus to handle the joyous event, we play.
Included in this humble feeling of elation is the far chance that we may be remembered in some gray office and receive any one of the varieties of letters which begin: "We take pleasure in informing you..."
Copyright © 1997 Abadan Publishing Co. All Rights Reserved. May not be duplicated or distributed in any form
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