Bus Life

Yesterday while riding the bus home, I got a phone call. First, let’s put in some qualifiers.  A hot, noisy, stuffy bus.  Jammed with people.  At 108 million degrees.  And my phone had been ringing non-stop all day. Which meant that now, at 6:47 p.m., my phone battery was ready to die. I had been working on revisions of texts all day, so I assumed the call was a continuation of previous conversations.  I answered the phone to instead find a feisty older woman at the other end.

Translated from Armenian:

Ms. Feisty:  Alo, alo, she shouted. Can you hear me?
Me:  No, I responded, I’m on a bus, I can’t hear you.
Ms. Feisty:  What? Are you selling an apartment in Etchmiadzin?

I could faintly hear her, but tried to make out what she was saying.

Me:  Yes, yes, I am, but I can’t hear you very well, now I’m on a bus.
Ms. Feisty:  What? Can you hear me?  Are you the one selling the apartment?
Me:  Yes, but I’m on a bus, and I can’t hear you.  Can I call you later?
Ms. Feisty:  What?  You’re not selling your house?

After several back and forth exchanges, I give up.

Me:  Yes, I’m selling my apartment in Etchmiadzin.
Ms. Feisty:  Are you there now?
Me:  No, I’m on a bus in Yerevan.
Ms. Feisty: Why are you on a bus?  Don’t you live in Etchmiadzin?
Me:  No, I work in Etchmiadzin.
Ms. Feisty:  So, the house isn’t yours?
Me:  Yes, the house is mine, and I’m selling it.
Ms. Feisty:  (something half Russian/half Armenian, and completely unintelligible)
Me:  I’m sorry, I didn’t understand you. I speak only a little Armenian
Ms. Feisty:  What language do you speak?
Me:  English and Armenian
Ms. Feisty:  I don’t speak English
Me:  That’s ok, just speak Armenian slowly, and I will understand.
Ms. Feisty:  Eh, I don’t speak English.  Bye

And with that, she hung up.  A useless, annoying ten minute conversation.  Since I had already been screaming in the phone so she could hear me, I just continued on.

Not translated from Armenian:

“Well, f*** you too lady!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Unfortunately, while the primary language in Armenia is of course Armenian, “f*** you” is universally understood.  I realized that forty pairs of eyes were upon me.  I hid behind my sunglasses for the remainder of my commute.  And for the first time ever, after I handed my fare to the bus driver and said my normal “thank you”, he responded with a wary, “voch inch (no problem)”.  Bus 47 will be off limits for  while.

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