This guy doesn't hide well in society.

flickr View my photo journal

"So which is better: here or there?", asked the barber, predictably, as he skirted his large everything around the chair while sculpting at a painfully slow pace. "Well it depends...", launched my friend as I sat waiting behind him, having been fussed over myself just moments before. My glazed stare at the passing weekend-traffic outside gained focus as my friend had plucked some plausible response out of the hat. He was interrupted, "so where abouts in England did you live?", I knew how my friend was going to respond, and froze hoping he wouldn't; I mimed the answer in horror as he said it; "Brighton...". I had to check I was there; I could see my reflection; I could see my friend's face in the reflection, but in it my friend failed to register my rigid eyes aiming him up in disapproval.

I've recently extended a charitable hand to a dear friend; offering him the spare room in my flat for an indefinite period. In this deal, however, I had not offered him aspects of my life to merge with his for public amusement. Aside from that, this new living arrangement struggles to be mutually beneficial, as I am reminded once again of communal living; it's great for the company, but such arrangements bring tedious clashes. For a change I am the tidier party, and with patience I put food back in the fridge, turn lights off in rooms (not being used) and take cups and plates continuously back to the kitchen, where I find meals continuously in some state of being prepared or eaten. My method for confronting this difference has so far been to knock on the doors of the empty room with lights on, and say, "hello? hell-lo-o?", then turning to my friend, "Who's in this room?", I ask; this usually brings a laugh and apology. Gradually he's getting it, and gradually the phantom tenants are disapearing.

The incident at the barbers was part of an outing of exploration, to discover the other end of the neighbourhood. It proved a success, with the discovery of an excellent bakery, a well stocked corner-shop and a dry cleaners.

Back at the barbers:

one such case being the repeated situation whereby English written menus are automatically given to my friend, and the Farsi version to me

As our newly-found neighbourhood barber pranced around, I sat listening to my friend's (and my) semi-fictional life being unveiled. His mostly-correct answer about British life had me itching to jump in; to clear minor errors or elaborate. I didn't though; like the barber, I was absorbed, yet was struggling to track back when I might have said the words he was regurgitated. On reflection, maybe I was being a tad uptight about this; what does it matter to the barber that the minimum hourly wage is not 4-pounds (this one can't have come from me).

I guess I'm not in a position to complain though, I too occasionally adopt alternative presentations of myself for passing strangers, mostly to avoid the many personal questions brought about when my accent reveals me. In fact, this is something we both do together, mostly due us attracting attention as we jump between languages. Embarrassingly we are beginning to firm-up on these roles we play; becoming characters in the repetition. Amusingly though, words are not needed; we are recognised without them; one such case being the repeated situation whereby English written menus are automatically given to my friend, and the Farsi version to me. This - it should be added - is more likely due to him being 6'.4", blond and dressed like a marine - and now, sporting a kooky hair cut; he's not exactly inconspicuous.

Labels: , , , ,


  • WHAT!? They actually have English language menus in Iran ;) I could do with a super tastey chello kebob from the Iranian Artists Forum right now!

    You'll be pleased to hear that Max successfully made us tadique for tea last week. hmmmmm.

    By Blogger Lex, at 8:06 PM  

  • fantastic blog, made even better by my 'ashnaei' with the party!

    By Blogger Sara K, at 12:04 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home