So, after you spend time thinking your neighborhood might explode while you stare at beached whales (please see last post), life gives you a little less bitter perspective.
I know I’ve said that my town is fairly cool and all, but it’s startling how cool it is compared to Yerevan which is a mere two hours away. It tends to be twenty degrees warmer there, and yesterday, at about 3pm the capital had surely surpassed the 100 degree mark. After searching for the right road for a blistering hour, I, of course, fresh from yesterday’s puke-time, had to hike with my backpack up a 70 degree slope for 700 yards or so to find the vet’s house where in Spring Chicken was waiting with her worms.
I wish she didn’t have her lady parts anymore, but apparently she’s puting up a fight. I bet she ate some feces on purpose, just to throw me off the ovary-scooping trail.
The two of us sweat our way back down for another hour or so to the center of town where we collapsed under the shade of tree, laying on the grass only a couple yards from a fake pond.
There we were approached by Gago. Clad in baggy black duds, he offered the last bits from his plastic bag of popcorn to the Chicken who devoured them immediately. I, barely waking from my nap, rolled over to see the Chicken scarfing and the tall man grinning down at me through a grey, crudely braided beard.
Maybe I threw him off with my groggy shnorakal enk (we’re grateful) because he immediately turned around and went and brought another bag of popcorn which he spread on the grass and from which the three of us ate.
“You’re hungry?” he asked.
“I’m ok, thanks, ” I said, “but I think she loves you now.”
Gago grinned and reclined and brought out a small bottle of vodka which he offered me. I declined which didn’t stop him from guzzling. He never directly asked me if I was homeless.
“Drink some vodka?” he asked.
“No, thanks. I’m waiting on someone who is taking me to my town”
“You live on the grass up there?” he asked.
“No, I live near a family in their small house in their garden.”
Later on, he asked, “In America, you live on the grass?”
“No, no. I live with my family,” I said.
Whenever my hand was empty, he gathered kernals of popcorn from the grass and dumped them into my palm. Perhaps it was my I’ve-been-puking-in-a-sweltering-apartment hairdo, or maybe it was my dirty clothes, or my heedless sprawl on the park grass, but this was surely the first time that a homeless man assumed that I was also homeless.
He offered Spring Chicken a palm full of vodka, which to my relief, she seemed to hate. We talked about his cat, about Yerevan, about the heat, about music. Grinning, we stumbled through “Hotel California” together, his phonetic rendering all the more marred by his vodka guzzles. He kissed Spring Chicken on the mouth and wrestled with her. He seemed very interested in her teeth, opening her mouth to study them while she wagged her tail.
When people passed he sometimes asked them for khmelu pogh, for drinking money. But when the taxi came, he didn’t ask me for a penny. He shook my hand and told me what a pleasure it was to meet me. He hugged my dog. He waved to me.