Wherein, the Heroine Avoids a near full on pub brawl, Discovers a literary gem, Confronts a ghost and Recommends a book-not necessarily in that order.

October 9, 2009

Devoured since May, is a stack of books that includes Azerbaijan Diary by Thomas Goltz. A man who I had the fortune to meet at Tequila Junction late one Baku night when said author, after waiting until my male companion dipped inside to use the toilet, approached me and opened the conversation by forcefully demanding ‘Do you know who I am young lady?!’ Being witty and bit of a minx (or so I’ve been told by S. Jeeves Westminster), I looked him straight in his eyes and said with a bored shrug, ‘No, no, I don’t, am I supposed to?’ It must have been provoking, as Mr. G growled out ‘Well then you obviously haven’t read my book, Azerbaijan Diary.’

‘Obviously’ said I with mischief, ‘Let me run to the nearest Ketabhaxna (library) and pick it up.’

What followed can only be described a word brawl between an older man losing his pride and temper and dropping the F-bomb most inappropriately and a 20-something lady gleefully being shamefully rude. Thankfully, a handler was, well, on hand, to calm the waters before two Irish Tempers attacked without mercy.

(I make the assumption that Mr. G is Irish based on his unwavering self assurance of ‘I’m kinda a big deal’ that seems to be prone to those in possession of Irish roots-I could be wrong, but in any case, if Mr. G happens to read this, I hope he takes it as a complement.)

And then of course, curiosity getting the better of me, I did go the next day, not to the nearest Ketabhaxna but to a friends flat, picked up Azerbaijan Diary and burned through it in a mere 3 weeks.

So this can be seen as a solid endorsement of the book and recommendation for one to read it-it also is, in a round-about way, a very small way of sending up the white flag of truce and stating that if, Mr. G and I should happen in the future to meet in a pub, while I will never apologize, I will offer to buy a few pints and swap tales of Azerbaijan, and make a point to state that yes, I do know who he is, but, more importantly, does he know who I am?


I don’t almost get into pub brawls with the author of every book I read-evidence: Rereading William Goldman’s The Princess Bride has been delightful, and I have neither felt nor desired to yell at him for being pretentious. When reading, there is usually a paragraph or page that makes the book-for instance, in Les Miserable, in the section of 100 pages or so when Mr. Hugo goes into exacting detail about the Paris sewer system, I drooled, while most simply rolled their eyes and skipped to the ‘good parts’ involving romance and angst. In The Princess Bride, this gem of a paragraph was re-discovered:


(Buttercup and Westley are about to enter the Fire Swamp.)

‘As a child, she (Buttercup) has once spent an entire nightmared year convinced that she was going to die there. Now she could not move another step. The giant trees blackened the ground ahead of her. From every part came the sudden flames.

“You cannot ask it of me,” she said

“I must.” (Said Westley)

“I once dreamed I would die here.”

“So did I, so did we all. Were you eight that year? I was.”

“Eight. Six. I can’t remember.”

Westley took her hand.

She could not move. “Must we?”

Westley nodded.


“Now is not the time.” He pulled her gently.

She still could not move.

Westley took her in his arms. “Child; sweet child. I have a knife. I have my sword. I did not come across the world to lose you now.

Buttercup was searching somewhere for a sufficiency of courage. Evidently, she found it in his eyes.

At any rate, hand in hand, they moved into the shadows of the Fire Swamp.’


My landing is void of nosey neighbors; a fact who’s pros and cons have been thoroughly discussed by most everyone. Some contend living alone on a landing is safer since it negates the possibility of having bad men neighbors in close proximity. Some contest that no landing mates makes it dangerous (possibility of bad men neighbors be dammed) in case I need help when a flat crisis occurs-such as not knowing how to change a light bulb *shudder* or not being able to sweep. *horrors* I think living on a mostly empty landing, except for myself and a blue eyed cross-eyed white cat is a prime arrangement. (Yes, there will be snaps of qəşəng pişik. Oh. The possibilities of mad win if I could get the midget cobbler and kitty in a photo together…),The other 2 flats are empty for typical reasons: drunken husband, some scandal involving a woman, and a business deal gone bad/good in Baku.

I was on the mobile talking to a friend who was having an AZ crisis that involved all the usual suspects: homelessness, nasty food, leering men, mysterious sickness-so absorbed was I in gum flapping that as I backed out the door fumbling with my key, hunched over the impossible lock, I didn’t notice the women in the opposite doorway of the empty flat. Some movement on her part attracted my attention and I straightened. We stood 2 feet apart, eyes locked in a dead on staredown. If this was a movie, the ass kicking music (Metallica-‘Enter Sandman’ comes to mind, feel free to substitute your favorite) would have cued, the sun disappeared, my tabbi boots, and bowstaff appeared and her fangs and cape materialized. But this isn’t a movie and 3 minutes into the staredown I was getting bored for precisely that reason, no fangs, no smoke, no ass kicking music and slow motion fight sequence-just your standard everyday strange/awkward encounter with a woman who wasn’t supposed to exist. *yawn* My friend kept talking and I kept staring, realizing that this could go on forever, since I’m never one to conceded a staredown from tiredness, I pulled a ‘New York’ escape, (The ‘Oh damm, oops, I’m on the phone, its important, *shrug* can’t talk now, gotta go, I’ll call you later. Sorry *contrite look*’ dance that females have perfected to avoid annoying suitors and evidentially possible ghosts.), turned and made all sorts of haste down the stairs, not forgetting to throw a cute little wave over my shoulder.


2 Responses to “Wherein, the Heroine Avoids a near full on pub brawl, Discovers a literary gem, Confronts a ghost and Recommends a book-not necessarily in that order.”

  1. Brian said

    “Do you know who I am, young lady?” = priceless, in an almost sad sort of way. I can pretty much picture your reaction.

  2. mcmacdonald said

    read the book, its a recurring theme.
    I likely wouldnt have been as pissy if that sort of thing didnt happen most every day-random lame dudes saying/yelling rude/disgusting things at me.

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