Broken Elevator Broken English closes cultural divide in South Florida

For ten years I have lived in an unassuming 16 story building across from the beach in Hollywood Florida. Years ago I lived in Hollywood Ca, pursuing an occasionally landing parts in commercials, mainly. Unlike California, there are tons of these ‘boxes’ on the beach. Neighbors reside for years without getting to know one another. One time during a hurricane we camped out at someone’s apartment a few floors up and met some nice people,. Anyway, One of our elevators is broken. I’ve ridden up three times with a middle eastern woman and her grandchild, I think. Clearly she does not speak English and I noted a wary expression in her eyes, so I tried to break the ice. “Where are you from,” I asked. “Perrrrrzzzia,” she purred. “Welcome,” I said, with a beaming smile. I don’t want to prejudge but it’s hard. I’m actually really interested in Middle Eastern Matters but I didn’t ask questions she wouldn’t understand. I asked her how many years she’d been stateside. “Oh, thirty or more,” she said, unable to finish the sentence in English. I understood. She left Iran when Khomeini took over and the Shah was deposed. All those years ago, when I lived in Los Angeles, the influx of weathy Iranians was such that it was jokingly referred to as Irangeles. Nowadays, the Persians in Los Angles call it “Tehrangeles”
Funny, isn’t it how a broken elevator can close the gap between distant neighbors and far flung cultures? Oh, and about that one working elevator…R U going up or down? Even if you don’t speak Farsi we’re all going somewhere so hop on in for the ride.

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