Once in a while I think I shall tell stories about people other than myself. I'm not the only idiot in the world, after all. And some of my friends and relatives have had some pretty amusing incidents—I should share those, right? Right. So this time it's a story about my dad.
Last winter, Afshin and I flew back east to visit our parents for the holidays. (Our respective parents, of course—this is California, not Kentucky. If you got that, pat yourself on the back: You're a dork.) Anyway, Afshin and his family came over to visit my family and me. Before they arrived, there was a spot of confusion. See, his mom's name is Mahboubeh. It's a difficult name for English-speakers to pronounce. Hell, I have trouble pronouncing it. It's close to MAH-boo-beh. Except that you pronounce the h at the end of the Mah. So it's kinda tricky. Of course, when Afshin and his clan arrived, my parents were just enchanted by his mom and managed to work around the name issue. To be honest, my dad has thought she's the most adorable thing ever since she force-fed him fruit and tea. (She has a big thing about fruit and tea, particularly the fruit. When my dad and I stopped at their apartment once to drop off some CDs for Afshin's brother, his mom broke out the fruit and tea and, after we'd accepted the tea but declined the fruit, offered to peel it for us. Apparently, as she later explained to Afshin, some people don't want to eat the skin and will only eat fruit once it's peeled.) Anyway, we had a very nice visit with Afshin and co. At the end of which, my parents said goodbye and shut the door.
"What did you just say?" I asked Dad.
"I said, 'Goodbye, Mahbaybay."
"Did you say Mahbaybay?" I asked.
"Yeah," he said. "That's her name, isn't it?"
"No," I laughed. "It's Mahboubeh."
My mom laughed hysterically. "You just called her your baby!"
"It's okay, Dad. I'm sure she appreciated the effort."
My dad isn't always so good with introductions. And names and such. Like when he met a neighbor couple. My mom really liked them, but my dad wasn't so impressed.
"I liked him," Dad said. "But she was sorta weird."
"What do you mean 'weird'?" my mom asked. "I thought they were both nice."
"Well, she was actually kinda rude."
"Really?" my mom asked. "How?"
"Well, it was the weirdest thing," my dad said. "She walked up to me and said, 'Hi man.' She called me man. That's sort of strange, don't you think?"
My mom stared at him, confused. "Michael. She said, 'Hi. I'm Anne.' Her name is Anne."
After that, my dad got along perfectly well with Anne.