Friday, October 17, 2003

An Oscar for Iran
K and I were riding in a taxi today. Our driver was as skinny as a man can be without being unhealthy. His high cheekbones practically jutted out of his face and his grey eyes were sparkling. He talked the way a recently converted Moonie talks: you know, kind of excitedly and from a different world. I was sure that he must be a fanatic of some sort and was, I admit, a little scared.

A car cut in front of us and K swore. The driver said, "Aahh… you people who have lived outside of Iran are shocked by the way things are now, aren't you?" He kept looking at K as he spoke. I wanted to ask him to keep his eyes on the road.

"We used to be a relaxed people," our driver said. "Life here used to be good," he added.

"Now we have a Nobel prize winner." Then he turned his attention to me and said in English, "Madam, Irani Oscar has."

"It's Nobel Prize," K corrected.

"You should have seen the airport," the driver told us. "There were so many people there they had to take Ebadi out the back way."

K and the driver talked about the way that the Iranian media reported the prize. (Slowly and in whispers.) "The internet is great," our driver said in that same voice that some guy might tell you that he has just been abducted by aliens and how much fun he had. The two then went on to discuss the difference between the British and the Americans. Iranians do not like the British. "Americans are good because they spend their money," the driver said.

K started to complain about Americans, but we arrived at our destination just in time for me to avoid his lecture.

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