Within the smile of a Persian Princess


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Nob Hill, San Francisco – In a confrontation with the level gaze of those hazel eyes, that enigmatic smile so gently transplanted from a nameless ancient gallery, one yields to her sensibilities. You will settle for being reasonable and doing things her way, simply because her soul came through Earth.

One is reminded we all had mothers with each minor adjustment of her facial expression. It is the way we all learned to talk – more importantly, how to listen.

The conversation ranged over the politics of race and ethnicity, and she asked what is known, really known, about the very minor anatomical and neural differences between humanity’s tribes and extended families.

I suggested the excellent book of photographs cataloging the anthropological classifications, the monumental photo collection published by the Museum of Modern Art, “The Family of Man,” and she jotted the title down in her notebook without hesitation, asking for a moment.

Asked if she still believes in Hillary, she said, “I’m a Bernie fan.” Then she wanted to know why I care. “I can’t vote.”

I nearly said, “Pull the other one, sister; it has bells on it,” but decided at the last whisker of a milliflash of a fractuated moment to play it straight. Look into her eyes long enough, and you will, too.

And so this child of Persia who introduced herself as “half Iranian,” passed a pleasant time with me, and I never let on, not for one second, that she cannot gain any advantage, pass any barrier, or gracefully pass over any mountain, simply because she is a woman of the world.

I merely answered many of her questions regarding American policies and the chauvinism of men of great power with the phrase, “But you, dear, as do all women, have far too much common sense to get involved in all that.” It’s true. They can all do it. No one need teach them. Women can influence the decisions of men any time, anywhere, simply by smiling and raising an eyebrow.

After all, her nation is the product of Anglo-American foreign policy, a project of MI-6 and the CIA designed to conform to the First Sea Lord’s decision to power Royal Navy ships with petroleum rather than coal. Hence, the formation of the Iranian mega corporation, BP – British Petroleum.

There followed a spirited discussion and review of the Kennedy shift in policy regarding a Senatorial attack on the Oil Depletion Tax Allowance, and its effect on the geopolitics of petroleum. She made cursory notes, and when she mentioned her interest in neuroscience, particularly involuntary memory, I mentioned Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past, the novel’s opening gambit that of the flood of memories caused by the first bite of a tea biscuit.

She copied that into her notebook, too.

We parted friends when the shadows lengthened.

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