An Israeli, a trash bag and half of a goat
Welcome to installment two of The Persian New Year, 2012…
So, having started over, the Persian and I moved into our first apartment together. Until then, I’d been living at my folks and he’d been living 50 miles away, saving for the first and last month’s rent, required to move into our own little love nest. My parents took pity on us finally, (maybe it was the fact that they disliked me making out of the area code calls every night) and they gave us the $600 we needed to move into our own apartment. Mind you, this was a tiny upstairs studio apartment, about the size of a garage and a half but it did have a covered carport and the location, in Studio City was divine.
You know how things go in the early days of marriage. You are broke, you have a huge sex drive and you have a safe and secure outlet for it every night (um… every day, night, in the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living area, on the terrace) well, you get the picture. So, the guy I married, when I married him, spoke very little English. He’d been a transplant to the U.S. for over four years but all of his roomies and work mates until then had been Persian and he’d had little opportunity to develop his English language skills. I became his tutor and he was a bright student. He’d sit every night in front of the TV and write every word that was new to him, on a yellow pad and then ask me to be a dictionary. Of course talking to me improved his English as well. I learned a lot of Farsi at that point so (as I planned), I could talk to his parents when they visited. See, I figured by now, with what we’d been through to this point, you know, the clinic and all, this “marriage” deserved a go. The problem with the Farsi I was learning, was that it was all the sex words, and body parts, not something you normally converse with the in-laws about… but I digress…
We lived on a really busy 4 lane street (Laurel Canyon Blvd) near Ventura Blvd., which is the main drag through the San Fernando Valley (remember the song “Valley Girl”? Yeah) and once a week, there was a street sweeper (for those of you foreigners, that’s a truck with a giant brush that cleans next to the curb by driving past it). On those days, we had to park the one car under our carport and the other, on the opposite side of the street, or get a ticket for blocking the street sweeper. One Tuesday, I come home early and am making dinner, when the Persian walks through the front door carrying a little maroon colored wallet thingy. He’s grinning madly. Uh. Oh. I knew that look. He’d done or was planning to do, something bad.
See, I learned these few months into marriage, that we shared very different values. I had been raised by very ethical, Christian parents, I’d graduated school with great grades and my claims to bad girl status had been smoking a joint at 21 and marrying out of “necessity” and then of course… the clinic… but all in all, I was a really “Good” girl. So he comes into the house waving this little wallet and says, “look what I found in the street?” He had parked on the opposite side of the 4 lane highway due to the street sweeper, and then dodged cars all the way across. Meanwhile, he found this wallet thingy laying in the middle of Laurel Canyon.
“What is that?” I asked innocently…
“A wallet with a passport! And look, it’s Jewish!”
“It’s Jewish?” I asked as I opened it. It’s an Israeli passport and it’s in Hebrew. That’s what he’d meant.
I must clarify here, that I married a Persian man but not a Jewish one, though there is a large population of Persian Jewish people in Southern California. Most of the people that I’ve met in the past 26 years in the Persian community are either Jewish or Muslim with a few Baha’i and Christian’s sprinkled in. All in all, the Persian Jewish community is more affluent due to the fact that they anticipated the overthrow of the Shah prior to it happening and knew that the rise of the Mullah’s may result in another Holocaust of epic proportions once the new regime took hold. They were able to get their money out of Iran prior to the 1979 Revolution and get the hell out, before things got bad. The Muslim community that remained in Iran, eagerly waiting for the overthrow of the Shah by the Ayatollah Khomeini, just figured that their money would be safe. Boy, were they wrong.
The U.S. instantly cut off all financial dealings and immigration dealings and every other kind of trade dealings with Iran, the minute they took our hostages. That left a bunch of impoverished Muslim college students behind. The Persian Jewish students at my university were well off because their families had either relocated their bodies and their bank accounts to Israel or the U.S. and the funds continued to flow. As these things go, a lot of the Persian Muslims were “tweaked” at the disparity and they “discarded” their Jewish counterparts, out of anger, jealousy or what have you. It’s very sad, but true. You can’t fight deep seated anger with placating words, even if you are a sexy new wife.
Needless to say, my Persian had plans for this passport. In the back of the wallet were numbers, a lot of them, most in Hebrew but some in English. The Persian asked me if I would call and find the owner of said passport and wallet, so that he could give it back. Well, of course, I thought. It’s the right thing to do. My upbringing screamed at me… you’re always a good girl Patti… but something in the glint of the Persian’s eyes told me this was not good. Anyway, I called every number that I could and finally reached the Israeli owner of the passport. He started to cry on the phone the minute he could figure out what my English words meant. He’d been looking everywhere for the wallet and passport and was so overwhelmed that he didn’t know what to do. I gave him our address and arranged to have him come over the following night and pick up the passport. He cried some more and we hung up. The glint in the Persian’s eyes brightened.
Right before the Israeli’s arrival the next evening, the Persian says, “Okay, let me do the talking. I will get money for this.” He holds up the passport and my jaw drops. He’s grinning and I’m furious. WHAT KIND OF MAN WOULD SO SUCH A THING??? I’m thinking, what a scummy scumbag from Scumland! An ugly fight ensues where he insists that all of the Israeli’s have money… etc. etc. and I fight but he has the thing in his possession and you know the nine tenths rule…
Well, the doorbell rings and I go to answer. Standing outside on the doorstep is a baby faced kid… He was younger than me at 25 and had no beard. He was dressed in a black suit and tie and white shirt and had braids on the side of his face and a black hat with a wide brim. I’d never seen a Hasidic Jew before, except in Yentl. He bowed, tears in his eyes and blinked at me. I let him in and noticed for the first time that he was dragging something very heavy, wrapped in a black Hefty garbage bag. WTF? The Persian steps up behind me and the comedy began.
Israeli bows to Persian and begins to cry. “I have present for you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.” Persian looks at me and I instantly see the guilt wash over him. I try not to smile but I know I looked smug. You rotten son-of-a-bitch, try to get money from this crying kid with his ‘present’ standing in our living room!!!
“What’s in the bag?” the Persian asks.
“It’s a goat, KOSHER GOAT!!!!” He beams as he wipes his eyes. Persian begins to laugh as Israeli opens the bag. Inside the bag is a goat! A WHOLE FRICKIN BUTCHERED GOAT!!! The innards, head, cloves and skin has been removed and the carcass is slightly warm. WTF? This man had gone out to a Kosher butcher and had them butcher a goat in thanks to us.
I turned to the Persian and said, “Now what are you going to do?” I added “asshole” with the daggers that shot out of my eyes, daring him to try to get money from this poor bastard.
The long and the short of it, since this is too long already, was that the Persian gave over the passport without asking for money, bowed back to the Israeli who was crying again (GEEZ) and closed the front door to the man’s profuse thanks. We were now the proud owners of a cooling goat carcass and an apartment sized refrigerator.
The next installment… on Thursday, “Goat Lubia Pollo, an annoying brother-in-law and a waterbed”…
Thanks for stopping by.