Character A

The day I saw the scene from my screenplay with my own eyes


Character A
by Sima Asgari

I have always been fascinated by human relations and the way they work, how people’s feelings and expectations towards each other are formed and how we interpret people’s actions based on our pre-assumptions that although might be clear to us may not be the case for other people at all.

I am sure you have many of those people around you who are always complaining. Not complaining about life (that is what we all do and apparently enjoy it very much because otherwise we would have stopped doing it long time ago) I mean complaining about other people’s attitudes, reactions, things we expected them to do and they didn’t, or things they did that we never expected from them, friends who did not return calls, forgot birthdays, did not offer to help us when we needed, or even offered to help but did not. The funny thing is that we do the same things to our friends that we don’t want them do to us without realizing it. We don’t return calls and we forget birthdays but we always have a justification for our own acts.

This fascination has made me think about making a movie on the subject. It is almost 10 years since I had the idea for this screenplay in my mind for the first time but I did never dare to put it on paper. The story compares two different types of reactions to the same event in daily life by two people who have different views of the outside world. One who always accuses people for being irresponsible and inconsiderate before even thinking that there might be good reasons behind their actions, and another person who tries to find a reason for the way people behave before accusing them of anything. These are two scenes of my screenplay to be:

Scene 1.1:

Character A is driving in a narrow alleyway when he has to stop the car because another car is blocking the way. A, gets frustrated and angry and immediately starts to honk the horn and swear and curse. After a few minutes character B runs out of a houses with a nervous and apologetic smile on his face, gets in the car that is blocking the road and drives away. Our paranoid A drives away while is still cursing under his breath.

Scene 1.2:

Character A is driving in a narrow alleyway when he has to stop the car because another car is blocking the way. A, looks around hoping to see the driver of abandoned car. He doesn’t see anyone but realizes that the door of the house on the corner is open. He gets out of the car and walks to the door and sees B who is trying to carry an old paralyzed man outside but doesn’t seem to be able to do it alone. He offers help, together they get the man to the car and both go their own ways.

Although this scene has been with me for years, whenever I thought about it, it looked more and more childish and insignificant every time, until last Sunday. That is the day I saw the scene with my own eyes while I almost played character A.

This is what happened. I moved last Saturday. The process of moving is very hard and frustrating, especially when you are on your own and have nobody to help you, or you are not comfortable enough with anybody to ask for their help and people that you actually asked, preferred to do other more important things.

Anyway, I went back to my old apartment on Sunday to cleanup and return the keys. I still had several items left there, one of which was my precious piece of Persian carpet. I cleaned and packed the fridge and freezer the whole morning. By the time I was ready to load the stuff into my car I realized that clouds are accumulating in the sky. I carried the first load of stuff into the car but when I was still in the car it started to rain cats and dogs. I was sitting in the car in front of my building wet, tired and lonely thinking how I was supposed to load the car in this rain. I could barely see outside through the windshield. I thought perhaps I need to park the car in front of the entrance to avoid getting everything specially the carpet soaked, but there was another car stopping in front of me blocking the building entrance. I waited behind the other car while cursing under my breath. I almost got out of the car to ask the driver to move several times but pouring rain prevented me from doing that. After about 20 minutes the driver door opened and a woman ran inside the building. A few second later she appeared with a young man pushing a wheelchair with a tiny old man sitting in it. Apparently the whole time they have been thinking of a way to get him into the car without getting wet. I burst into tears. I had just seen a scene from my movie. After all it was not insignificant at all. I have learned from my own thoughts. I’ve taught myself a lesson. I am still wondering how on earth I had thought that my little Persian rug was the most precious thing in the world that needed to be protected from the rain.

By the way, any film makers out there? I can tell you the rest of the story.

Sima Asgari

Arlington, VA

August 2008


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by Sima Asgari on

I am so glad I could communicate my message through to you guys.
Azadeh, you are right. We have the right to be frustrated and angry sometimes but it is all up to us how to react to that feeling and how to allow it to take control of our lives.


Maryam Hojjat

Consideration and thoughtfulness!

by Maryam Hojjat on

Thanks for your article Sima.  It reminds me to be thouhtful, and considerated of others in any situation.  I try to think twice before I react to any situation. Good luck to me! 

Azadeh Azmoudeh


by Azadeh Azmoudeh on

Sima Jaan,

What you mentioned in your blog is how human beings, in general, has learned to react toward the hardship in life. We all are the product of both nature and nurture. I do not for one instant believe that it is in our nature to become mad easily and act upon it, unless we have some mental disorders that force us to do so without us knowing it (that also I can debate through choice theory, maybe in some other time). But just imagine the senario you wrote on yourself, being tired, wet, and alone all are factors that can make you frustrated so you might cuss the other car that blocked the road (who might have the same reason as yours, but at that moment we are only concerned about us, right?)Anger and frustration is A Ok! Don't you get hungry, sad, or happy? Anger is another feeling that I don't understand why and when has it become so cursed? However, the way we act on it is important. Also, what made you cry seeing the old man and the wheelchair, somehow might have given you a little guilt feeling as why you became angry or cursed. Like I said before you did not know, and you were tired and maybe hungry and alone, you had the right to be angry. Later, we learn to use this experience and give others benefit of a doubt sweetheart. Good Luck.

However, what you brought in our attention worths appaud since you wrote about things that others either ignore or neglect.



Our reaction is the reality of our lives!

by Tahirih on

I really enjoyed the wisdom of your story. I had to deal with a big loss in my life about 4 yrs ago. The only thing that helped me to make peace with it was this simple statement:

What ever happens to us is 10% and our reaction to it is 90% .

 So our reaction to any stressful situation or life event, predicts the severity and effect of that situation on us!



AmirAshkan Pishroo

Beautiful mind

by AmirAshkan Pishroo on

It is clear to me from reading your plan of screenplay that you have undoubtedly a beautiful mind. But before we rush to film makers, let's go first to psychoanalyst. I am thinking of Freud.

He helps us understand how "two different types of reactions to the same event in daily life by two people who have different views of the outside world."

The first thing Freud shows us is that this has nothing to do with their world views, but every thing to do with what he calls "the narcissistic origin of compassion" and "getting rid of the Oedipus complex."

Freud helps us understand how someone cane be both a tender mother and a merciless concentration-camp guard, or be a kind friend and husband and also a chilly, rejecting father.

Freud shows us why our sense of guilt is aroused by certain minor events, let's say crying infant, and yet remain indifferent to big events, let's say genocide in Darfur.

Freud gives us necessary concepts, such as "infantile" or "sadistic" or "obsessional" or "paranoid," which enable us to make sense out of our actions, our beliefs, and our lives.

The Freudian terminology enables us to sketch a narrative (screenplay) of our lives which is far more finely textured to our individual case than the simple terms such as good and evil, virtue and vice which we have inherited from Persians, Greeks, and the Christians.