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.