“But it’s not real, when you don’t OWN something…”

After two of my drivers canceled on me, Mobeen picked me up from the airport terminal. I complained about it to Mobeen and he shook his head.

“That’s not right that they did that,” he said angrily, seeming more irritated than I was myself. “They’re just trying to get longer rides. But it’s not your fault or anything. It’s the luck of the draw. Sometimes you get a long one, sometimes a short one, but it’s not right to cancel for something that’s not your fault.”

“I’m happy I picked you up,” he added, very solemnly.

“Thank you,” I responded, equally solemnly.

Mobeen was originally from Iran. I asked him when he had moved, and he said, “Thirty years ago! This is home now. But I went to Iran, bought an apartment building to rent out. It’s really cheap there.”


“All cash,” he said proudly. “Here, in America, I have a house, but I don’t own it! It’s an illusion.”

“You’re renting?”

“No, I have a mortgage with a bank. But it’s not real, when you don’t OWN something…this country is all about illusion and owing. But soon, my mortgage will be paid off and I will be done.”


“Do you own anything?”

“I have mortgages,” I said.

“You see?” he said. “Things can change in a second here. Suddenly your house is worth less, you cannot even sell it to pay back the bank. Like 10 years ago. But I kept my house, I worked hard and made my payments. But when you OWN something, it is yours, you know? No one knows its real value but me.”

“Until it’s not yours. As you know, in some countries, nothing is yours.”

“True,” he nodded. “But I trust in this system. I trust things will be strong enough. This time will pass.”

“What if it doesn’t?”

“I’m American. I am proud of it. I’ll make sure it does.”


About the artist

Alexandra Burda is from Romania and currently lives in Helsinki, Finland. She loves traveling, people, animals, history, emotions and the wonderful world of imagination. If she were not an artist, she would like to work as a scientist, or a professional athlete. Some of her portfolio can be found at