A few years back I had the pleasure of seeing Hadi Khorsandi in his “Khorsand-Up” comedy show in Amsterdam. He said a lot of things that hit home.
One of the things that has left a remarkable lasting impression on me was the following story. If you are in a supermarket, or anywhere else for this matter, and you see two people standing frozen like human statues, don’t throw change in front of them. They are not beggars or street artists but actually two Iranians who have encountered each other in the supermarket and none of them wants to admit that they are Iranian. Like people in a jungle that have just encountered a deadly snake… don’t make any sudden movements.
At the time I laughed; I recognized the picture he painted. But it’s only been recently that I have come to understand why this is.
Have you noticed that no matter where you meet a fellow Iranian, they are always in need of a favor?
I am not talking about relatives, I mean the whole Iranian community. Since I helped a friend out with my company discount on household appliances, every Persian Tom, Dick and Harry has been on the phone with me. It's like I have opened a new home appliance store.
Few weeks ago a friend of a friend of a friend of my moms calls me out of the blue at my office nonetheless.
This is how the conversation went.
“Salam Sahar Khanoom.”
“How are you doing?”
“Fine thanks, who is this?”
“Its me Masood.”
“Masood? Sorry sir I have no idea who you are.”
“Masood dige … Mostafa's friend.” Now it has gotten more complicated
“Mostafa dige, Mostafa dooste Farhad.”
“Farhad?” Who the hell? “Farhad kiye agha?”
“Farhad dige baradare Maryam.” Ok. Maryam I know.
“Excuse me, … Masood khan was it? How did you get this number?”
“I called the company you work for, and asked for Dastmalchi, I assumed there would be only one”
“Yup there is only one Dastmalchi here.” (Reminder to self: must change name to Smith at the earliest convenience.) “How can I help you?” Yes that’s my purpose in life to help … who was this guy again?
After having asked about my parents, sister, friends and people I have never heard of before in my life, he finally arrives at his destination.
“Well Sahar Khanoom, I have two small kids.” Hold on. Does he want me to babysit?
“Ok?” what does that have to do with me?
“Couple of days ago they left the fridge door open.” Get to it already! “The fridge motor burned out.”
Ok this can only be one of two things: either he thinks that because I work here I can fix the fridge or he needs a fridge.
I don’t have time for this.
“Agha?” What was his name?
“Bale, Agha Masood… I am at work I need to be in a meeting (imaginary one) in five minutes.”
“Bale Farhad told me you could get me a fridge… Cheap.” Ok. We have lift off.
I can help out this guy, so why not. “If you can come here I’ll take you to the personnel store and you can choose what you want.”
“Yes, but see I live in yatta yatta, can you go and buy the fridge? And have it delivered here?”
“Wait you want me to pay for it as well?” Is this guy for real?
“I’ll pay you back.” Yes I know this game.
“Sorry, Masood was it? No way am I gonna pick out a fridge for you. And I am not gonna lend you money … I don’t even know you.”
“Sahar Khanoom in harfa chiye… How dare I say such things… man dooste Mostafam dige”.
“Aghaye aziz, I am working here, and I don’t know who Mostafa is.”
“Mostafa dige…” yeah yeah yeah dooste Farhad!
“Listen, I told you how I could help you… I don’t have time for this and now I really gotta go my (imaginary) boss is calling me to my (imaginary) meeting.” How did I get involved in this?
Anyhow I say goodbye hang up the phone and continue my merry way.
At home my mom has left me three messages, “Sahari, Masood gonah dare…” yatta yatta yatta.
I finally called her back. “Mom this guy is just too much…” Anyway finally with my mothe'rs intervention the man is willing to come to my office… phew.
A few days later I get a call from the reception desk, “Miss Dastmalchi, there are visitors for you.”
I go down stairs to meet my visitors. There are three men and a lady waiting for me. I recognize the lady as being Maryam my mom's friend, and oh yeah Farhad, the guy that got drunk and started hitting on me at the Norooz party last year, while his wife was standing there looking at me like I was the villain. How charming.
After the usual greetings, I lead them to the personnel shop.
“Sahar Khanoom, which one should I take?” Are you kidding me?
“I am sorry, I don’t know anything about fridges. I work for the infrastructure division.”
Finally they choose a fridge and pay in full in cash at the register. As I am walking them back to their German car Farhad starts talking. He is still keen. “You know Ramin?”
“Yes, I know him.”
“Is he your boyfriend?”
“He was.” Shit, wrong answer.
“So you are now free?”
“I guess so.”
“You want to go out some time?”
“Thanks, but no thanks… I’ll call you” when hell freezes over.
I am now carrying the illusion that I have done my part… and will be left alone.. Nothing is further from the truth.
A week later again Masood calls me
“Sahar Khanoom, they have brought the fridge but the motor keeps running.”
Let me guess its not supposed to do that?
Last time I do any one a favor!
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