Saturday, October 29, 2005
Two of my housemates at college having a conversation; one Spanish, Gabby (with a very strong accent) one American, Jeff (from Virginia)
Gabby cooking some spinach on the stove. Jeff sitting at the kitchen table playing with a fork.
Jeff: What have you got in there Gabby?
Jeff (quite horrified): What?! You’ve got a penis in there?
My friend Goli in GAP: ‘They want to charge this much for a little vest top and they don’t even have the decency to stick a little flower on it or something.’
My cousin Shadi after only a few months of being in England, talking to her friend about the benefits of having taken out her tonsils: ‘I used to get a soar throat all the time but it’s been so much better since I’ve had my testicles removed.’
A very old and wise aunty summoning up the funeral of another old person that she had just come back from: We cried, we ate, we laughed.
My four year old Uncle (Firooz, nicknamed, Fifi) jumps on the bed to hug his mum (who has just come back from the hospital with his newborn brother) and is shouted at by my grandmother (Mamanjoon, who is worried he might jump on the baby): ‘Fifi don’t do that.’
Sulkily he says: ‘Until yesterday; Fifi darling, from today; just plain old Fifi.’
Me hearing the word ‘Decade’ for the first time.
My uncle to me: ‘So two decades, hey?’
I (at first a bit taken aback by the prospect of this gentle man using the word dickhead so freely, then eventually coming to the conclusion that it’s probably ok, assuming one of the dickheads must be me and since the other definitely can’t be him) innocently asking, ‘So who’s the other one then?’
An old lady by Magdalene bridge in town, bending down to talk to her little scruffy dog, ‘Now listen here missy, we are not going to barge in the river again; that squirrel is not there anymore, it’s gone. Do you hear me?’
Tooran, (a Turkish lady that used to do a bit of cleaning for my uncle sometimes) on her way to the north of Iran, explaining the scenery to her fellow passengers: ‘All these trees; big, small, even smaller than that.’
Kamyar and I trying to get back home from Heathrow airport.
We: ‘Excuse me; does this bus go to Oxford?’
The bus driver looking a bit annoyed about having to state the obvious: ‘Well yes of course; this is the Oxford platform.’
‘Yes but we just asked because your destination thingy says London.’
The bus driver: ‘Yes and it says Goodyear on my tires but so far I’ve had a pretty shit year.’
An old boyfriend’s excuse for disappearing without a trace for three whole days: ‘Honey I was sending you vibes all weekend. Did you not get them?’
My grandmother (Azizam) calling her local taxi service: ‘Hello sir, can you please send a carriage to our home as soon as you have one available?’
My grandfather (Babajoon) covering up one of his sons (who had kicked off all his covers during the night) with a blanket, whispering: ‘If his bum catches a cold, he’ll be farting all day.’
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Click here for the new bit.
And here to read from the beginning.
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Anyway please click on here for the first part of the story. Hope you enjoy it.
Special thanks to Asad and Kamyar.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
I have had this story in my head for a very long time now and right from the beginning I knew that the best way to tell it would be in comic book style. But since I had never done comics before in my life, I was having a few problems with the whole thing. However a couple of days ago a breakthrough happened and suddenly it all came together and so I could finally get started on the fun bit which is doing the drawings.
I thought it might be a good idea to post this project on here as I go along and hopefully improve it from your feedbacks.
I’m hoping to have the first instalment ready by tomorrow or the day after. Fingers crossed.
PS I’m sorry friends but since I have dedicated all my time to this story lately, I haven’t had much time to visit other blogs. Please post some of your less interesting stories for the time being and keep your good stuff for a bit later. Thank you for your cooperation.
Monday, October 17, 2005
Now if I had that Critical illness Cover maybe the insurance company would send some people over to shoo these birds away from my home. I would have liked that.
Saturday, October 15, 2005
‘Do you know anyone who has had cancer?’ he asked.
‘Yes I know a couple of people.’ I said.
‘What about you sir, do you know anyone who has developed cancer?’
‘Yes’ Said Kamyar, ‘a close friend of mine.’
‘Me too’ he said jubilantly (as if he had just worked out that we all went to the same kindergarten), ‘my aunt’ he added tapping himself on the chest excitedly I’m guessing to let us know that by ‘my aunt’ he meant his aunt and not some person called ‘Myaunt’. I did the smile and the eyebrow raise again.
He put both elbows on the desk and leaning forward rested his chin on his hands, smiling. He was clearly very pleased about this cancer bond between the three of us. ‘You see what I mean?’ he said, ‘Cancer is all around us, isn’t it?’ We nodded. He continued, ‘And it’s a horrible thing isn’t it?’ with a sort of everyone-else-lies-to-you-but-I’m-gonna-be-honest-and-just-come-out-and-say-that-cancer-is-no-walk-in-the-park attitude.
‘Now say one of you develops cancer. I’m sure you would both be devastated but with our bank’s ‘Critical illness Cover’ you can at least feel safe in the knowledge that your mortgage will be paid for.’
‘All of it?’ I asked.
‘Yes your entire mortgage will be paid off.’
I threw a sideways, not-a-bad-deal glance at Kamyar to see what his reaction was. He too seemed interested. ‘How much would that be monthly then?’ he asked. ‘Let me just calculate that for you.’ He said tapping numbers into his calculator. ‘Yes the critical illness cover for both of you will be a mere 64 pounds a month.’
‘64 pounds a month?!!’ Even ten pounds a month would have been too much for us. ‘That’s a bit steep isn’t it?’
‘Yes’ he said ‘but it’s a small price to pay.’ He drew a little imaginary triangle with his finger with each of us being at each corner of it, ‘One in three.’ He said leaning back in his chair with both hands raised up in front of his chest in an I-rest-my-case manner. ‘That’s all I’m saying.’
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Then it suddenly dawned on me; it had happened; what I had always been scared of as a child had actually come true; we had finally run out of stories and now had to make the same ones over and over again. How horrific!
As we continued watching, on one of the scenes the DVD got stock and then skipped over a chunk of the film (as if the DVD player itself had got bored too) we decided to ignore the skip and continued to watch because as anyone who rents DVDs knows, these skips and jumps are the norm with rented movies.
Although when this happened for the third time, I got up swearing and took the disc out to see what was wrong. The skips were the result of a few scratches and a couple of greasy fingerprints. As Kamyar tried to wipe the greasy marks from the disc, I thought about how strange it was that we had the technology to put eight gigabytes of film on one tiny disc but most of us still did not have the fundamental understanding that it is not advisable to touch that disc with our greasy hands after eating a bag of chips (French-fries to most of you non-Brits and Freedom-fries to you Americans) with curry sauce and extra mayonnaise. Actually our problems with CDs and DVDs are often even more basic than that; most of us are yet to get the hang of opening the polythene around the case without looking like a cave-man trying to break the shell on a Brazil nut! Or getting the disc out without swearing and breaking the button in the middle.
Yes I believe we have a very serious problem here, while technology swiftly moved forward, at some point in time the average person’s brain started shrugging its shoulders and saying, ‘Yeah well I don’t get it but yeah. You must know how it works and I trust you.’
If I were to take a guess I would say that point was probably around the time when the audio and video systems went from analogue to digital. I think up until then our brain had always had time to catch up with every new thing in technology and try to understand it but round about then, it suddenly just went, ‘0101? I don’t know… yeah I guess it makes sense.’ (without actually understanding it) and from then on, we were like that kid at school who never learnt the multiplication table but managed to somehow hide his ignorance and go along with the rest and now is expected to solve complex mathematical problems without knowing the very basics.
So now we have the technology to make a film where a man can single-handedly fight with five thousand men (that don’t exist in real life but have been made on the computer and look totally realistic). He will fly in the air and go from one man to the other by running on their chests at a ninety degrees angle, kicking each one on the forehead and then take out a laser sward and before they can say ‘Ouch, my head’ cut the right hand of each one from their wrist and stack them all up in a pyramid shape.
But why is he doing that?
‘Ummmm…mmm…How about…no…how about because a very evil man has taken the love of his life hostage and is threatening to kill her?...or no no, how about an evil man is trying to take over the world and turn all human beings into slaves?’
‘Is that the best you can come up with?’
‘No wait we can put a twist in it.’
‘How about right at the end he realises that he and the evil man are actually the same person? …or or better yet the evil man turns out to be his father? Or…’
‘Please stop. I’m begging you.’
Yes at the end the technology plays its part perfectly well and the man fighting the five thousand computer generated villains does his job flawlessly but unfortunately the best the brains behind the story could come up with is, ‘Give him shades. Make him look cool and sexy.’ Which is ironic really when you think about how in real life it is usually the people who have no real substance or knowledge or enough confident who try to always look and act the way they consider to be cool to try and hide their shortcomings! Is that what we are unconsciously doing I wonder.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
I had always wanted to have the kitchen sink in front of a window and this was just ideal as I had a perfect view of the whole estate from it too. Even so, had at that time somebody told me that there is a three and something year old who uses every opportunity he gets to get completely naked and climb up to the window exactly opposite me to rub his front repeatedly against the glass, I would definitely have thought twice about putting an offer in. But these are the types of things that the estate agent just doesn’t tell you about.
I must admit the first time I saw the naked kid I found him a bit amusing. Although that feeling lasted only about ten seconds and then I just wanted him out of my view so I could spy on the rest of the neighbours in peace. ‘What if the window opens and he falls out?’ I said to Kamyar. ‘Don’t worry’ he replied, ‘the window is probably locked.’ I had thought that myself too but I was dying to go over there and say something to his parents and I had much rather go as a concerned neighbour as appose to someone who is just a bit miffed because their naked kid is spoiling her view. At the end I decided to leave it and let this strange child have his fun. But from then on I would not watch him anymore so every time he came to the window, I left the dishes and went off to do something else and came back when he was gone.
One day I walked into the kitchen to find the naked kid standing in the window again, but this time he was on the outside. He was standing on the five centimetre ledge, holding on to the window frame and looking down, as if he was about to commit suicide. It was unbelievably horrific to watch. I had no idea what to do. I didn’t want to make a noise thinking he might get scared and fall down. Then Kamyar walked into the kitchen and then the next thing I knew, we were both running down the stairs and I was thinking by the time we get outside, he’ll be splattered all over the asphalt. I was getting really upset about this but if I’m honest, it wasn’t because I desperately didn’t want anything to happen to this child or that I felt sorry for his parent, I was getting upset simply because I didn’t want to have to be faced with him dead in front of me when I got outside. Later I felt really bad about that.
The worst part was definitely walking from our building to the one opposite, passing the suicidal kid on our way. It reminded me of those wildlife programmes where you see a happy little antelope walking about unaware of the lion that is hiding in the bushes. As we stood in front of the sixteen buzzers of the building and had no idea which one to press, I started thinking about how much this whole thing was like a very bad dream.
‘There is a baby hanging from the window on the left hand side of the building.’ I kept saying every time anyone answered. At the end someone said, ‘think you might want 105’ but there was no answer in 105. Then someone came out of the building and we rushed in. By this time I could hear other people outside talking to each other from their windows and since no one was screaming or crying, I guessed the kid had been taken inside.
Upstairs, we rang the doorbell to 105 again and when the door opened we were greeted by a very hairy, top half naked man with the famous naked kid attached to his arm. I had never liked this kid from the start, but at that moment I truly hated him for what he had put us through. Later I felt very bad about this too. Well he’s just a kid you know, he didn’t know what he was doing. But at the time I made myself feel a bit better by giving him a good few imaginary smacks in my head.
After that we did not see the naked kid for a while. At first I was happy about this but then I started to wonder what had become of him. I kept thinking maybe someone had said something to the social services and they had taken him away. But then the other day, after a long absence (of about two month I think) I looked up and saw a very familiar scene. Yes, the naked kid had made a comeback. I can’t say I was exactly happy to see him; it was like as close as you can get to being happy to see someone without actually being happy. I took off the gloves and went off to do something else.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
Friday, October 07, 2005
This is when I will decide on my next action; keep the half-smile and add a little headshake in the person’s direction (if it’s for example a friend of a friend that I’ve met a couple of times but don’t really know and now can’t even remember the name of) turn the half-smile into a full one to go with a hello and a how are you (for if say I used to go to college with this person) look the other way and try to pretend that my smile is for someone else (if I realise that the guy only looks familiar because I stood behind him in the queue at the supermarket yesterday).
But since more often than not my brain simply refuses to cooperate and just stands there like a bad secretary with attitude (chewing gum and filing her nails saying, 'Can’t you see I’m busy?') I usually end up just sticking to that half-smile which makes me look a bit dumb (I’m sure), but friendly (I hope).
This was exactly what happened today; I just walked past him hurrying my brain to come up with information and kept the half smile firmly in place. I think I scared him a little.
Some time later, when the lousy brain secretary finally slammed the appropriate file on my desk, in it I also found this charming and very fitting quote from Richard E Grant as Withnail (in Withnail and I), ‘I feel like a pig shat in my head.’
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Please be as critical as you can. To be honest I think it sounds a bit silly myself but I thought maybe it’s because I had to read it about fifty times to shorten it and stuff. The thing is on my website I have an about me section as well and so I wanted this one to be completely different to that and also to give a feel of what this blog was about. Is it working or is it rubbish? That is the question.
Some people use retail-therapy to cheer themselves up when they are down. I use it to get myself back down to the reality of life when I’m too happy. Once a month I turn from a smiley, easygoing lady into a tense, irritable, creature who prowls around looking for things to get annoyed by. At the peak of this time I will go up to my husband, Kamyar and say, ‘I’m not having a go at you but…’ or ‘I don’t want you to think I’m having a go at you again but…’ After this lecture I will storm off and for the next five minutes I will try to convince myself that I was very right to tell him how mad it makes me when he for example leaves the bedroom door open or shot, depending on whichever one he has done that day. Shortly after that I will run back to him (who is usually still in the same stunned state) crying and saying, ‘I’m so sorry.’ When I do something I put a lot of time into it and try to both do it well and enjoy it at the same time, be it painting a portrait of Queen Elizabeth, cleaning the loo or writing a note to put on a neighbour’s car to say ‘please shut off your ******* alarm’ You can take a look at my artwork and read more about me on www.shirinadl.co.uk
Monday, October 03, 2005
One minute I was on the dance floor, the next minute I was all wrapped up in my warm jacket (that I had taken out of the suitcase especially to wear on this first cold night of the year. Again very sensible and grownup I thought. You should have seen all the other girls in town in their little dresses or short skirts and vest tops and sandals! And then people wonder why so many are binge drinking; they are just trying to warm themselves up probably) and I was walking (actually walking, as apposed to hanging off some poor whoever to avoid tripping over, shouting, ‘’ave I eve’ told you…you’re alright you ar’’) down the road to see a friend’s new BMW before we went home.
In fact this car viewing was probably the only non-grownup thing about last night since for some reason it’s practically impossible for Kamyar to keep his cool when faced with a car with Harman Kardon speakers (I’m convinced he only likes them because the name sounds Turkish). Well nobody’s perfect.
I like parties. I prefer them to going to nightclubs. I don’t really go to many parties now days but when I do go I always try my best to have a good time and to be seen to have a good time. It’s just nice for the host isn’t it? No one likes to see their guests standing around looking glum. That’s why I will do anything that I can to try and show my host that I am having a good time, even if it means getting drugged up to my eyeballs or alcohol poisoning.
Don’t worry I’m only kidding; of course if I do any of those things, I will only be doing them for myself and not for some host.
Last night I only had two bottles of beer, a little dance, and a few shouty conversations over the music in one of which I ended up getting completely soaked by the other person’s saliva. At first I kept squinting and moving about but then I stopped all that as I remembered this samurai code from Ghost Dog ‘There is something to be learned from a rainstorm. When meeting with a sudden shower, you try not to get wet and run quickly along the road. By doing such things as passing under the eaves of houses, you still get wet. When you are resolved from the beginning, you will not be perplexed, though you will still get the same soaking. This understanding extends to all things.’
It always feels great when you get to put something you have learnt into practice.
PS If you feel like something good to read, have a read of Gazankhan’s latest post about a traumatic childhood experience in which he was swallowed by a well, touched by god, comforted by a two headed turtle and saved by a man who allegedly went on to become Iran’s most fanatical underwear designer!
Saturday, October 01, 2005
Let me start from the beginning. Actually before I start from the beginning let me just say that I don’t dislike kids. I even like hearing the sound of kids laughing and playing, from a distance. I’m a reasonable person; I’m not saying they should be locked away in cellars and beaten every time they make a noise. I have nothing against them playing outside in the communal gardens for example.
What I do have a problem with is the fact that for some reason in the whole of our estate with its huge gardens and play area (complete with a swing, a climby thing and another hangy thing), all those fields surrounding our flats and the massive park about five minutes down the road, the most desirable place of play seems to be in our building, right outside our front door, in the one and a half square meters of hallway that we share with three other flats!
I’m not kidding. At one point, spying on them through our letterbox, I counted exactly seven screaming kids all cramped together in that little area! If I had opened the door, I would have had to actually step on some of them to be able to get to the stairs. What makes this whole thing even stranger is that no one on our floor has any kids!
Every time this extraordinary pilgrimage of all the estate’s kids to our front door is going on, I get irritated by all the noise and think, ‘Am I the only one that gets annoyed by this? How come no one from the other three flats comes out to give these kids a good telling off and kicks them out of here?’ But of course I know that the reason no one else says anything is more or less the same as mine which means they think it’s better to suffer for a few hours from the noise than have to endure a lifetime of having dog-poo rubbed onto their bicycle saddle or dirt poured into their flat through their letterbox because they have made enemies of their neighbourhood kids.
Saying that, once when they had seriously got on my nerves by five of them simultaneously screaming their heads off and ringing all the door bells and knocking on all the doors and all that, I thought, ‘Right, I’m going to put my most serious face on and tell these kids off once and for all.’
As I opened the door, all the other kids ran off leaving behind just this one kid. So there was I with my serious face on and in front of me stood a little two and something year old girl with long blonde wavy hair, big green eyes, wearing a little denim skirt with a pink T-shirt, sucking her thumb and swinging from side to side.
That was it for me. What happened after that is pretty much a blur. I vaguely remember smiling and saying some things in baby talk. Next thing I remember, I had my back to our front door inside the flat, smiling.
Then I started to hear the other kids’ devilish footsteps as they gathered in our hallway once more. ‘What did she say to you?’ they asked the little girl. Since I couldn’t remember what I had said to her myself, I listened intently while watching them from the letterbox. The little girl reluctantly pulled her thumb out of her mouth and coolly said, ‘She said why di’ you ling my bell? Di’ you want to come in?’
Unbelievable. Why had I done that? How did this happen? Did I not go out there to tell these kids off? The little monster with angelic looks must have put a spell on me!
As more giggling kids gathered outside the door (to hear the story of the crazy woman who apparently liked being tortured), inside the flat I dropped down to my knees burying my face in my hands and shaking my head. Out of all the stupid things I had done in my life, this was by far the worst one.
After this came a whole week where we were systematically tortured by kids of all ages as our doorbell was rung constantly from morning until evening. Of course I had no one else to blame for this but myself.
Even worst than that was all these sniggers and high and mighty looks that I was now getting from all the other neighbours. They were all just loving this because since the kids had concentrated all their time and energy on me, they had little time left for annoying the other people in the building. The way I saw it the others should have been grateful to me for this peace and quite that I had sent their way, but instead every time I talked to one of them they had this air of ‘Yes you’re young. You are not wise in the ways of the world. You will learn.’ about them. Ungrateful *******s.
Three days past and I spent hours on end in front of the mirror practicing my serious look, my double-serious look and I-take-no-shit-from-nobody look. I practised two hour of Tai Chi everyday which I hoped would help me with my balance and concentration. I put myself on a strict diet of fizzy drinks, chocolate bars, lemon sherbets and chicken nuggets to try and get into a kid’s state of mind.
On the fourth day, I was ready.
I sat cross legged facing our front door inside the flat, meditating, snaking on cheesy puffs and gummy bears.
Then came the first knock of the day on our door.
I took a deep breath in.
I stood up.
Opened the door.
Two kids were standing in front of me and one was hiding in the stairs which meant running up the stairs to see what was happening and then down again.
I had my serious look on.
‘Why did you knock on our door?’ I asked in my serious voice. I could see that my serious look was working because as cheeky as these kids were, a kind of worried look had started to appear on their faces. I was loving this. ‘You knock on my door or ring my doorbell one more time and I’m going to go to your grandmother and tell her.’
‘But it wasn’t us. It was her.’ said the boy, pointing to the stairs. ‘Very well’ I said moving my serious look up a level to double-serious by throwing in a little Roger Moore frown, ‘if this happens again, regardless of who is responsible for it, I am first going to go to your grandmother’s and then go upstairs and tell her parents.’ now comes the revenge bit, ‘I don’t care how many times a day you decide to ring all the other doorbells (hee hee hee) just stay away from mine.’ I-take-no-shit-from-nobody look, ‘Do you understand?’ They just stared. I slammed the door shot.
And it worked! Now I can sit and relax in the relative quiet of my home and as the other doorbells in our building go off over and over again, listen to the grunts of those who once mocked me at my darkest hour and did not come to my aid. Revenge is sweet and so is telling off and scaring a bunch of annoying kids.