September 14th, 2001

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Woohoo I got antibiotics! Now maybe I can get well enough to leave the house for more than a few minutes a day.

I just had a super uncomfortable conversation with my son's best friend's Dad. Beau didn't go to school today, (long story) but I still have to pick up his friend Shayan and take him home, because that's my part of the carpool. I told his Father not to worry, when we spoke this morning, that I would still get him.

Beau, forgetting that Shayan was at school, and that I would be picking him up shortly, called his friend to invite him to play. His Father answered the phone and got really angry and started to yell at Beau, he asked him if I was here, and when Beau said that I was, he said something like, "Forget it, I will pick up Shayan." This man can be verrry intimidating, he seems like a really good man, but his manner can be harsh and sharp. I have heard him yelling in Farsi at his son when we are talking on the phone and it scares me, but I dismiss it as being cultural or his style or male or whatever.

Beau didn't understand why he was so angry with him and came in here crying. I explained that maybe the Dad had thought I had forgotten his son.

Beau's friend Shayan is half Persian and half Spanish, he looks very Arabic, and having heard that people are being cruel to Arabs, I have been concerned that people, not being able to differentiate between people from one middle eastern country and another, might be mean to him or to his family. The day of the attack when I dropped Shayan off at his home, I parked and went in to sort of share this with them and to let them know that we were all in this together. I knew then that this kind of retaliatory behavior would take place. I remember how some children I knew were mean to their Persian neighbors when I was in high school.

When I called Shayan's dad to reassure him that everything was fine, that I intended to pick up his child, I put him on the defensive by asking him why he had yelled at Beau. Then he started yelling at me, telling me that he wasn't yelling. He accused me of being weird, of not trusting him, of being suspicious and of not giving him credit for his good treatment of my son. He told me that Beau is too sensitive and needs to grow up, and I don't remember what else. I just kept apologizing and trying to calm him down, but he was so volatile, it really felt like it go the other way, and he would decide never to let the kids play together again.

Finally he admitted that he had been on a long distance call with his Mother, and that he is very worried for his kids. He is sooo hard to pin down in any way, he is always very elliptical in the way he speaks. I asked him if he was referring to the terrorist attacks and he said no, but then he said, "You know two of my friends have died," but that that wasn't the issue and that he hadn't been angry in any way when he spoke with Beau. Then later he calmed down a bit and said, "Maybe I was too loud." For a while there I really felt like he was on the defensive and thinking I was some American monster woman who was attacking him, it was sooo so weird.

It's already hard enough communicating with their family because their culture is different, and their English is a little hard to understand. The Father is much stricter and more protective of his son. I never seem to know when something we do is going to upset them. We recently went to a birthday party for Shayan at a park and it was really fun. I had such a good time hanging out with these Persian women, they made me feel very welcome and were teaching me about their customs and food. They were sort of belly dancing, it was very cool. Now everything seems so complicated.

Yesterday when I went to school to pick up the kids, this little seven or eight year old girl, who I've seen before, and who definitely looks Arabic, (dark hair, dark skin, and eyes) had had her hair streaked, and was wearing an, I Heart New York, tee-shirt. I can only imagine how frightened her parents must be, to feel they have to do something like that, in order to keep their daughter safe.
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