Sold a “Fully Armed” and a “Schiz” to a librarian/aspiring cartoonist with whom I originally connected through “The Comics Journal.” His reading of me has expanded into other areas, which is a rewarding experience. But not the week’s best story.
She was an Iranian-born software engineer from Toronto. She wore a purple sweater, purple slacks, and a purple patterned scarf. She was in her 40s, with blonde highlights in her black hair and fingernails polished in different colors. She had woken at 4:00, she told me, meditated, and walked on Grizzly Peak. Because she planned to write her memoirs, she asked the universe to connect her with a writer. Then she had headed down toward campus and, without even noticing my books, had recognized me as one.
“I must compliment my stylist,” I said.
She asked if she might join me, so I cleared space at my table.
She had to call her daughter in an hour, but our conversation blew way past that. It actually was not that much of a conversation. She barely asked me a question and I did not have to ask her to learn her father had been in the Shah’s air force and, while in the United States as a governemental representative, had a secret marriage and child. She had been married at 19, arranged, unbeknownst to her, to reconcile her family with one with which it had been feuding. She has another “marriage” now, entered into to appease her husband’s father, but she and he do not live as husband and wife. (“Partners in crime,” she calls her husband and herself.). There is a man in the UK whom she has turned down four times already but who is now ill and whom she may visit tomorrow. She comes from a family of “nomads, but “Not like gypsies. We travel from palace to palace.” She had been sexually molested by a seven-year-old cousin when she was five. She would have been a model, but in her family you did not become a model. You became a lawyer or doctor or engineer. Her spiritual guides include Wayne Dyer, an Iranian physician/ nutritionist, whose name escaped me, and Louise Hay, who counsels loving one’s self in order to heal.
Of course, she would buy a book of mine. What would I recommend?
And she wanted one for the man in the UK.
And one for her partner.
And one for each of two cousins.
Bob on Bob and Bob on Bob.
In the end she had bought all ten books I had with me.
But she did not have cash. I could not get my Square to work and I did not trust my bank (or me) to be able to handle the electronic transfer of funds she proposed, so she offered to go to an ATM.
W., who had arrived an hour into our interaction, waited with me.
She had left behind her glasses (of no use), her iPad (a cheap one, W. said), and all ten books, which I could easily re-sell if I ran across other Iranians with the same names as her, her friends and relatives.
I called Adele and said I would be late – but would have a good story.
W. had to get to work.
I waited some more.
She arrived with cash. She wanted to pay me extra for making me wait. (I settled for an orange juice.) She asked what I would charge to edit her memoir. I said to send me a few pages to look at. She said she would bring them with her the next day. What time would I be heré?
I have not seen or heard from her since.
Did she go to the UK?
Did she wake up and wonder what she was doing with these books?