Sunday, September 28, 2003

L’Shana Tovah
Our local grocery was covered with Rosh HaShana decorations.

My sister…
Never reads my blog. Can you believe it? Of course she had some excuse about her computer being too slow for her to surf the web. Hey, it’s text only, sister! And I am writing it for her and the rest of my friends and family so they won’t keep asking me how things are going! Don’t worry, I still love you even if you never read my blog.

A night out
It’s been a bad week. I won’t go into it here. Suffice to say that even K has offered to sacrifice a sheep if things get better.

After a particularly exhausting day, K, his nephew, and I went to the movies. The theater was big, with roomy seats, a big screen, and good enough speakers. The film we chose was a comedy very much in the style of the comedies made under America’s censorship laws: chaste, smart, funny, and charming. It featured a man who is engaged to be marry, but does not quite have his heart in it despite the fact that he loves the woman. During his engagement, he meets the woman of his dreams who is divorced. After a series of mishaps, they finally get together.

On the way back from the theater, we stopped at the hospital to visit a friend. While we were waiting, we watched these absolutely gorgeous women conduct “business.” They were out in front of the hospital looking for “clients.” (Their words.) Just about every single car slowed down for them, including the cars filled with women. The women kicked most of the cars filled with men, did a little dance for the women, and almost got into a number of fights. One acceptable car stopped. Two good-looking, young men were sitting in the front seat. One woman got in. The other waited on the curb. About five minutes later, the first woman was back.

“That was fast,” I commented.

Soon, three other women joined the first two. One was clearly very high. She was a bit unsteady on her cork-heeled sandals and her eyes were narrowed into two slits. Now all four women stood kicking cars that slowed down for them.

“What kind of offer is good enough for them to get into the car,” I asked K?

“I don’t know. Maybe 40,000,” he said.

“That’s more than most prostitutes make in New York,” I responded.

A car stopped and two of the women got in. The driver was a fat, more than middle-aged, unshaven guy. This left two women on the curb.

A woman in a small white Honda-Civic-like car pulled up to the curb. The two women waiting gave here an enthusiastic greeting and piled in. They were all gone now. At least that is what we thought. Less than five minutes later, we saw the women down on the corner. Soon they were back in front of the hospital. They wandered in and out of the hospital. “Probably using the bathroom,” K said.

As the women came and went it became obvious that they could not possibly be engaging in sexual acts. They never rode with a driver more than one block and never spent more than 2 or 3 minutes in the car. (I am sure there are a lot of women making jokes about men right now.) The street was packed with cars, so they had no opportunity for privacy even if 3 minutes were enough to complete any sexual act they had started.

“They must be selling drugs,” K commented.

Meanwhile, a bearded man who was dressed in the green suit that seems to be the uniform of government workers had come outside to make a phone call. He talked on the phone while the four women fearlessly continued their antics.

“A couple of years ago, he would have had them arrested,” K commented. “Now he can’t do anything. What do you think he is thinking right now?”

“He’s thinking that he hates Tehranis,” I said. K laughed.

Revolution (just kidding)

K met another one of the thousands of government officials who roam the streets of Tehran. Of course, K started by telling him how much he doesn’t like the government. He tells everyone this. That is the key part of his standard introductory remarks. So far, this has not gotten him into any trouble. In fact, quite the opposite.

The two were talking when the official told him that there are a number of things that the regime thinks would bring down the government. He mentioned these two specifically:

1. Trying to force women back into chadors and restrictive clothing: “The women would never stand for it. They would bring down the government rather than wear chadors again.”
2. Stopping production of their stinky, dangerous, polluting car: The Peykan. “We know it’s dangerous. We know it pollutes too much. The manufacturing of these cars is a giant monster that we cannot control. Investing money does not help. This could eventually bring down the government.”

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