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7/27/17

EB1 Green Card Case Manager: A Date with Mahrooz

Late last night Mahrooz texted me:

"Hey Tomas do u want
to go out to lunch
tomorrow?"

To which I replied:

"Hi Mahrooz. I'd love too."

Frankly, I was surprised at the invitation. Mahrooz has been aloof with me at times.

In the morning, when Mahrooz arrived to work a few minutes after me she came to my desk to finalize our plans. She was wearing a floral printed dress. I looked forward to our lunch the entire morning.

At noon on the dot I went to her desk.

"I'm ready when you are."

"Okay. Lemme clock out," she replied.

As you may remember, Mahrooz is Afghan. Born there. She speaks with an endearing accent and occasional odd syntax. I like listening to her.



"Me too," I said to her.

She chuckled because since I had come to her office to tell her I was ready she assumed that I had already clocked out.

Our cars were parked next to each other in the lot and she asked me what car I'd like to go in. I didn't hesitate to say mine.

"Ooh, you like to be in control. Don't you?"

I capitalized and replied, "Yes, and that goes for the bedroom as well."

To which she giggled like a 16 year-old.

It's summer so I blasted the A/C as soon as we were in the car. We took off and got held up at the first traffic light where I decided not to rush on an amber light.

"It's okay," she said to me, "we'll catch the next green light."

When we had just left the office I congratulated her on getting promoted to full-time work.

"It's good for you, right?" I said to her.

She affirmed and proceeded to tell me how her other boss at the Veggie Grill where she works doesn't want to let her go and so she's currently working 14 hour days. She leaves the office at 5 and reports to the restaurant at 5:30, leaving at midnight.

Internally, I hoped she would stop that to make some time for herself but also to provide opportunity for us to socialize more often. On the other hand, I also admired her scrappy work ethic.

Once we were settled in on the Chipotle patio, with a burrito for me and a veggie bowl for her, we began chatting in earnest.

Mahrooz is competing for another job: Internship Coordinator at National University, a salaried position. The hiring process last six weeks so she told me she wouldn't be leaving Dick's office for a minute yet. She also expressed some concern over how Dick would take her leaving.

I helped her get control of that situation by asking her, "Who cares how he will feel?"

To which she laughed. When Mahrooz laughs her face becomes oval and her eyes become slits like she was suffering but instead she is in stitches. She laughs with true joy.

I made her laugh like that a second time when I told her why I was still working with Dick.

"I'm going to unionize the office," I said.

She laughed at the gall of it all.

Once she was done laughing, she asked me if the job was worth the trouble.

"If I succeed in unionizing the office we can get some real things: a living wage, vacation time, health insurance, and maybe even a pension. It would be a different job, a job worth committing too."

She got it but not completely. She still thought it was better to just move to another job.

"The problem is not this office or Dick. The problem is capitalism. Wherever we go we're going to be exploited."

She didn't understand this.

So I explained.

"Say you get a job where you make four times what you make here. Well, that just means that your new boss makes four times what Dick makes. Your still being exploited because you're boss is still getting the lion's share of the profits. You're just a more expensive slave but a slave nonetheless."

To which she said, "So you want to go back to communism?"

"Go back? America has never been communist."

We talked about the old USSR, Cuba, and Venezuela.

We talked about how America has always meddled in other people's democracies and destroyed them.

Once the food was gone she asked me, a bit coquettish, so are you ready for some Jamba Juice.

To which I replied in the affirmative and she bought me a small Matcha Tea. I had bought the food.

It was a nice date. 

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