Watch the sunrise. Up and coffee, mending the lining of a jacket,1, attend sessions at conference, re-pack bags,2 knit on the fuzzy short-sleeve pullover, go out to coffee and read, finally finish all the tagging & categorizing on this very site that I have put off for two years already.3
- The fabric is almost rotten, and is beginning to give way even far from the seams; ultimately will have to replace the lining, but this will help the lining last through the weekend. [↩]
- Which are thankfully significantly fewer in number heading home than heading up to Yerevan. [↩]
- As well as updating everything, fixing all broken links and redirection. You’re welcome. [↩]
the heart of the matter
The image occurs to me: Odysseus’ men eating the cattle of the sun; because they are hungry of course. But they do not see that the cattle are sacred, and more to the point, do not belong to them. The word returns to me: νήπιοι. And it felt good to say it.1
- Which is not to say that I felt scorn (well, not much), but rather a sadness at what they could not see, and what they would not, indeed cannot yet, believe, even if told. [↩]
We look in the taxi. If there is a meter: fine.
If there is not: ‘do you have a meter?’
‘No – it’s a hundred dram a kilometer, we’ll go by the odometer.’
‘Well how much is it to point B from here?’
If he says: ‘I don’t know, we’ll go by the odometer’ – find another taxi. If he says: ‘Well, we’ll go by the odometer, but I don’t think it will be over 600’ – this is your taxi.
A short conversation usually follows: ‘Sorry, I don’t think you’re a bad person, but so often taxi drivers see we are foreigners and they cheat us, charge us 1300 dram for a ride that should be 700 – we realized later of course and got angry, but what can we do?’; ‘Fair enough, folks will cheat if they can’ – and that’s the end of it; we sit our twelve minutes and arrive at our destination.1
This last time, though, the driver kept talking, and he said something that I keep coming back to: ‘They’re hungry you see – not like really hungry, but they are in the habit of hunger – they can’t stop themselves: they have to take and take even when it’s wrong, even when they don’t need it. They’re hungry.’2
And so they are.
- Which is usually not accessible by public transport, or not when weighted down with any sort of luggage. [↩]
- The word սոված (sovats) is one of the several Armenian words that means ‘hungry’, and that is the word this entry takes its title from. There’s something about the way he said it that brought to mind the image of starving wolves, drawn, with sharp eyes. The conversation took a more amusing turn, as it turned out the driver was from a village near the city where we live. In less than five minutes after meeting a complete stranger, we have placed each other in the cosmos and know, to a certain extent, everything we need to know about each other. Had we been Armenian, we would have found a common relative. [↩]
Crambe repetita (18)
… according to a tale from Bulgaria, when God was handing out the different religions the Gypsies wrote theirs down on cabbage leaves, and before long the holy book was a donkey’s dinner. Another weird tale of alimentary blasphemy comes from Romania: The Gypsies built a church of stone and the Romanians built one of bacon and ham. The Gypsies haggled until the Romanians agreed to exchange buildings – and promptly ate their church. The Serbian version has the church made of cheese …
– Isabel Fonseca
(Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies and Their Journey,1 p. 88f.)
- A very enjoyable and readable book; of its type, perhaps only second in my estimation to Unni Wikan’s Behind the Veil in Arabia: Women in Oman. [↩]
it was in the bleak december
Ah yes, distinctly I remember, what I was doing ten years ago today. Of course looking at where I’ve been:
…and where I am now:2
…one hardly knows what to expect for the next ten years.3
- Not the exact view, but close enough [↩]
- Well, the picture is from last year as Goris isn’t looking very photogenic today. [↩]
- Happy solstice! [↩]
A view (30)
Boiling the kettle for tea steams up the windows. Still no snow, though.