I Know Why The Caged Foreigner Sings

July 20, 2008 at 2:39 am 1 comment

RUG

Some families gamble. Some turn to alcoholism, or even drug abuse.

My family, however, buys carpets.


I know I’ve been talking a lot about my family this week, but this is not as docile an addiction as one might think. Visits to my grandmother’s often become an excuse to just watch the rug auctioning channel broadcast from LA via her satellite TV. An exchange of pleasantries such as “How are you, Grandma??” turn into “Oh snap, did you see the medallions in the center? Is there any silk in it? I bet it’s from Shiraz!”
“Pssh, no way! This is Tabriz, man! Look at the border patterns!”
My father and his family are reduced to twelve year olds who just got their allowance, as my fellow aunts and uncles giggle next to him on the couch, egging him on to buy various rugs from different regions of Iran. If there was room, they would have assumed the “Slumber Party” position, I’m sure.

“Do it man! Everybody needs a rug these days! It’s only $300!”
My dad chews his finger nails.
“Do you really think I should get it?”
“Yes!!”
And before you know it, he’s picking up the phone again, blabbering in Persian, saying things along the lines of:
“Hi, yes, I know I just called but-haha, yup! That was me….Yes, that was me too. Yes, yes, that time also. I wanted to know about that red rug you just showed from Kashan…”

I don’t really understand much spoken Persian, but the tone of his voice is akin to a middle schooler calling a cute classmate’s house on a dare.

Never mind the fact that I’m only in town for a couple of days, and that I kind of need my relatives to serve as translators for me and my grandmother to communicate. I know these rugs are “meant to be for my dowry” as my aunt claims, but I couldn’t help feeling guilty that I couldn’t really talk to my grandmother this time. Also, who the fuck still creates dowries in America?

That, my friends, is how Persian rugs are purchased here in the U.S. By bored ex-pats who lack bazaars, by hagglers who have no more markets, by displaced middle-easterners who resort to a home-shopping network of crack-infected loomery. My family is by no means rich, but somehow my dad walked away from the Northern Virginia nursing home having purchased 3 genuine persian carpets that night.

“Don’t tell your mother,” he warned me, shaking from his consumer high.”I won’t,” I promised.
After all, my mother just bought new shoes on the family credit card last week, courtesy of the internet. Some things you just take to the grave.

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Entry filed under: Miscellaneous Musings, Olivia. Tags: , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. miranda  |  July 23, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    i love this post. that is all.

    Reply

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