Beauty salon in Westwood, California
By Gelareh Abedi
My mom is not like this. My aunts are not like this. My grandmother is not like this. My girlfriends' and their moms are not like this. So why am I meeting these types of Persian women?
What types? The types who look at you and they think they can ask all kinds of personal questions and tell you to do this and that. Once I got stuck with one in a doctor's waiting room. Saramo bord! And once at a bus stop a lady tried to convince me that I should join this political group. Jeez...
And today I met another one of "them" at the exact same stop. I was coming back from the Veterans Hospital and I was sitting in the bus stop, like a good girl, minding my own business. Suddenly this lady walked to me and said:
-"Does the number 12 bus stop here?"
-"What time is it?" the lady said in the worst manner you can imagine : (
-"It's 2 o'clock."
Then she came and sat right next to me.
-"Are you Persian?" she asked.
At that moment something told me, run Gelareh, run for your life. But, as always, I didn't listen to my wise inner voice. Oh I wish I had.
-"Khob khanoom, koodoom madreseh meereen?" she asked.
-"Cheh reshteh-ee meekhooneen?"
-"Yanee, tooye azmayeshgah kar meekoneen."
-"Uhm... Baleh, khanoom, taqreeban."
-"Khob, shoma refugee hasteen?"
-"Oh...Pas shoma mosalmoon hasteen?"
-"Khob khanoom Green Card dareen?"
-"Khob... Ba pedar madaretoon zendegee meekoneen?"
-"Khob, khailee khoobeh deegeh... Heech ghoseh-ee nadareen!... Khanoom joon, dokhtare man New York zendegee meekoneh. Dental hygiene khoondeh..."
-"Beh salamtee. Reshteye khoobee...."
-"Nah, khanoom joon! Bayad zeere daste doktora kar koneh. Kojash khoobeh?!... Khob khanoom, tooye een madreseyeh shoma baraye facial dars meedan?"
-"Manzooretoon cosmetology hast?"
-"Areh deegeh! Cheqadr pool meegeeran?"
I started telling her as much as I knew about cosmetology and how many years she would have to study to get a degree. Then she started asking whether I get financial aid or not. And whether my dad works. Where does he work and how much he make? Do I work? How much do I make? Where do I live? How many years have I been in the States? And on and on and on.
By then our bus came and the lady got in with me. I ran and sat next to someone so I could scape her endless questions. She sat down and gestured that I should come and sit next to her.
-"Beeya eenja khanoom joon. Beeya ba ham harf bezaneem."
(Oh... God... Chera mane bad-bakht?)
-"Khanoom chand saleteh?"
She started laughing.
(Excuse me! What's so funny about me being 20 years old?)
-"Tazeh aval bad-bakhteeme!" I said.
-"Nah khoda nakoneh..."
-"Khob vaznetoon cheqadre?"
Oh my lord... I just couldn't hold myself and started laughing.
-"Bebakhsid... Shoma porseedeen vaznam cheghare?"
-"Areh. Chand keeloo hastee?"
(Like she wants to buy meat or something.)
-"Uhm. 105 pond."
-"Nah! 105 pond? Nah, neestee"
-"Khob...Yekshanbeha madreseh meeree?"
-"...! Yekshanbeha? Nah nemeeram."
-"Khob tafreehet chee hast?"
-"Heech-chee. Too khooneh meesheenam!"
-"Nah, doost nadarm."
-"Chera doost nadaree? Hameyeh dokhtar-pesarhaye ham sen-o sal-e to meeran!"
-"Khob, khailee khoobeh agar kasee doost dashteh basheh. Man doost nadarm!"
After a minute of silence:
-"Mamanet, abeh goosht ro door meereezeh?"
I stared at her for a second, trying to understand what she meant.
-"Uhm. Nah. Fekr nemeekonam. Mamoolan tooye ashpazkhooneh nemeeram."
The bus reached my stop. I quickly jumped out of my seat and said it was nice talking to her and ran toward the exit.
Somewhere during this long ordeal, she did give me an advice that every other Persian lady has given me. "Don't get married! My daughter got married and..."
I have a headache now.