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We've made it to Boulder, Colorado. I didn't know if I was going to. The drive was much harder than I remember at 27. Thank God again for adaptive cruise control. Without it, I might be a goner.

I was fairly bummed before we got to Denver. First, there was the hail storm. I didn't think that was a big deal, until we looked at the car the next day. It's covered in all these tiny little dents. I'm not sure how I can get them out. I filed a claim with Geico. Hopefully, they give me some good news.

Besides the dents, I got a message from a dear friend telling me to look out for seeing everything as racism. That took me aback, and made me realize how difficult it is to talk about going through an experience with discrimination. For whatever reason, some folks have a trigger reaction to doubt you. I suppose it's easier than the alternative.

I asked Aaron how to deal with it, and he said it wasn't my responsibility.

"They can look this stuff up online," he said. "I don't like how people are making you the person to explain things to them. It's not your responsibility."

That was the first time someone's said that to me. It took a while to set in.

I guess I've always felt responsible. It must be how most first generation immigrants respond. You've got to be the go-between with your parents, so when the waiter asks about some detail on the menu, you've got to be the one that explains that two portions of bread is not going to cut it for an Iranian family.

"We're going to need more," I might explain, and then I'd order a plate of pickles for extra measure. "And pickles, too!"

I suppose jokes are one way to relieve the pressure about these differences. But to not be responsible? I couldn't imagine. I've always been made responsible. Maybe that's the ticket though. If people really want to figure things out for themselves, they can watch a video on the Internet or read about it.

We submitted to another of our grants. I'm hoping we get something. Dents cost money. Movies cost even more. We did get a nice note from one person. They told me they liked that I was tackling the issue of racial trauma and suggested I make it clear it's not because I'm Iranian, but because the person was simply a racist. Hold on. They said it much better:

"That horrible person didn't refuse to cut your hair because you were Iranian. They refused because they were racist and they projected their negative perceptions. W.E.B. DuBois begins Souls of Black Folks with the sentence, "What does it mean to be a problem?" This is an unfortunate burden with which non-white people have been forced to engage. We can recognize the problem of racism without problematizing and stigmatizing race."

I'm glad I'm getting so much wisdom from people. I want to understand more too. Tomorrow, I'll be reading Souls of Black Folks, and Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. I'll also be reading a few new books: Mixed-Race, Post-Race: Gender, New Ethnicities and Cultural Practices, and The Way of Tenderness: Awakening through Race, Sexuality, and Gender.

I should probably be preparing for my PhD defense in August, but I can't stop myself. I also realize I haven't said much about the road trip. It's not because a lot didn't happen. It did. I suppose I'll talk about what happened in Boulder tomorrow. I still need more sleep to recover, and I'm dying to finish Deep and Simple: A Spiritual Path for Modern Times.

I love everyone. Bye.

Oh, if anyone cares to donate on Patreon, please do. We now officially have 4 patrons. Mostly, my family members and one former student for a whopping $30 a month. We're hoping to get to $500 a month to help us keep making this documentary. If you support what we're doing, please donate a dollar or share this along. If you know of a grant we might have missed, please message us.

I'm so tired. 1800 miles and we're in Denver now.

The past couple days were a whirlwind. I don't even remember what happened yesterday. Oh, yeah. We got all the way to Kansas City. On the way, we listened to the Alchemist. Then Meina read me some of my PhD dissertation to practice breath control for her singing.

We also got caught in a hail storm, and now the car we got for the adventure is full of all these pock marks.

Also visited West LaFayette, Indiana where I grew up as a kid. It was in the middle of nowhere.

I made a vlog about it to switch things up. Enjoy.

If you'd like to donate to this film or any of the other work I do, you can do so now through my Patreon page. It's our only way to raise funds at the moment, so every little bit helps. If you've got a dollar, it's really appreciated.

I'm beat! I ended up driving 9 hours today by myself. All I have to say is thank God for adaptive cruise control. That saved me from joint pains, but it also led to us getting a ticket. I was in the middle of explaining something to my cousin about how to be diplomatic and respectful to her professors, when I got a chance to demonstrate how that would come about with a police officer.

At first, I didn't know why we were being pulled over. He pointed to a sign next to us and it said 50 mph, but the GPS was listing 70. Apparently, it was road construction. I felt really bad. I didn't even notice. I mean, it must have just been there right where the cop was standing to pull folks over.

The officer asked us where we were going, and I described the road trip, that it was a new car, and we were trying to hit Indiana. I didn't think anything would happen, but he said I was going too fast and he was going to give me a ticket. Then it took him about 30 minutes to give us one, because he kept coming back to check the registration, which was literally 12 hours old. I suppose it wasn't even in the system. No idea.

We got the ticket and headed off. I thought it sucked, because the last time I got a ticket was in Boulder, Colorado after September 11, 2001. A cop pulled me over for failure to turn into the nearest lane when making a right turn. I'd never seen anyone do that going into the Whole Foods, so I asked him if he was pulling everyone over or just me.

"Just you, today," he said.

I didn't argue with him after that.

This incident tonight didn't seem like it was racial profiling, but then I saw my cousin all worried and upset. I pulled over and she started tearing up, worrying they were going to take me away. Apparently, the last time she was pulled over four years ago, her boyfriend was taken in for a DUI, even though he passed the sobriety tests. They just booked him anyway. She said it was race related, and I got it. Then she started in on how this situation was the same.

"You told him you haven't had a ticket in 15 years!" she said and paced in the parking lot of the Service Plaza in Ohio a few miles from where we were pulled over.

"Well," I said. "It's actually been 17 years."

"I'm saying!" she shouted.

Then she went into how she was worried they were going to take me away. I gave her a hug and said not to worry. "No one's taking me away," I laughed. "I did nothing."

I got it though. It was like when my dad did the sit-in at the barbershop. It can be scary to come from racist incidents with authority figures multiple times and then face another incident.

"If we were Rob and Deborah, homie would have just let us go. But who gives a person who hasnt had a ticket for 17 years with a brand new car a speeding ticket, when clearly everyone is driving faster than 50 miles per hour!"

I couldn't argue with her. We had set the cruise control to 50 after being pulled over, and then trucks were passing us going 70. So, the cop's interest in seeing my license and digging had to be about the new car. Meina thought the same.

"He thought we stole the car."

"Maybe," I said.

"And look at all these plates!" Meina shouted again and pointed at all the different plates from different states to debunk my thoughts that it might have been our New York plates.

"Well," I said. "Nothing we can do about it."

Meina shook her head and paced a bit more.

"Maybe we need to sage the car and you," I said.

"Yes," she said. "Do it!"

I lit some white mountain sage I had in my trunk and then burned it around the car and Meina. Then we headed back on the road. I downloaded Paul Coehlo's Alchemist as an Audiobook and figured that would brighten the mood. Pretty soon, we were in Jeremy Irons' sonorous warmth as he read about omens and the soul of the world -- all the way to get us to Indiana.

Tomorrow, we visit the elementary school I went to as a kid. I wonder what it'll be like. My dad said to visit the turtle in a sandbox I played with as a kid. I wonder if it's still there.

If you'd like to donate to this film or any of the other work I do, you can do so now through my Patreon page. It's our only way to raise funds at the moment, so every little bit helps. If you've got a dollar, it's really appreciated.

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