iran so far away.


my cousin's step-dad is iranian. he talked with a big booming voice, and he had a firm handshake. it was christmas 2007, and my cousin was hosting christmas eve at his house, the rosemont house. nobody else showed. my cousin's mom and stepdad, the iranian, kept asking, "where is everyone? when are they coming?" i didn't have any answers for them. my cousin never sent out an official invite. he just announced one evening a few months before that he would host christmas eve at his house, and then he never followed up with anything. who knows why nobody showed up. probably they were arguing about something.

i called up my cousin, who was at my aunt's house, just a few blocks away. "who's over there?" she asked. "no one," i said. "we'll be there in an hour," she said. i called my mom, whose house is also just a few blocks away. "we'll be there later," she said. by then, it was already 8 p.m. 9 p.m. rolled around, and still, there was no one. we sat around watching t.v. finally, i drove to my aunt's house to see what the deal was. i found my aunt and uncle and some of my cousin's sitting around the living room, exchanging presents. i handed out some presents my mom had given me to distribute.

at that time, i wasn't talking to one of my cousins. i was disappointed with him, with myself. we had spent the entire autumn talking about things we were going to do, and then never doing them. we had one project where we were going to scan every family photo ever taken. we had this other plan where we were gonna pull out every red rock in my parents' backyard. we were going to start a new social networking website, one that could rival facebook. we were going to record an awesomely depressing record. we were gonna do it all, and ordinary was unacceptable. when none of that happened, i just isolated myself.

i finally saw my cousin there at my aunt's house, and i handed him a card and said, "merry christmas." later, i would apologize to him online. i can't deal with real emotions or real apologies in the real world. why else would i write so much? anyway, they were all exchanging presents that night, and i felt like an intruder. i felt like i'd better do something, or i wouldn't have anyone to call family anymore. i told them that we should go to my cousin's house, and that we should all play singstar, and that's what we did.

i was thinking about the iranian because of iran being in the news everyday and all. i don't know what's going on, really. i follow the #iranelection tweets sometimes, but that's about as far as it goes. i don't even pretend like i try to understand. i don't know what's going on here, so why would i be expected to know what's going on abroad? there is no office talk about iran. it is a giant protest that might as well be happening on another planet. i saw the video of neda getting shot. i was once again revolted by humanity, sickened by what we are capable of. as the blood rushed forth from her nose and mouth, i felt sick. what's wrong with me for watching this? what's wrong with the killer? why did the person videotape this? what's wrong with youtube and the iranian government and our government?

i don't know what i learned from christmas 2007, or from the only iranian i've ever met. but sitting there and watching each hour pass, i felt a sense of dread, an urgency to make something happen.

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