Monthly Archives: September 2009

Insomnia in Meghri

I single-tapped this note below into my trusty Nokia flip phone early Sunday morning, September 27 during my visit to Meghri, Armenia.

I’m in meghri, staying in misha’s house, it’s extremly clean and the family hospitable. The purpose of my trip was to bring sergey here as he has never been. It’s 2.23 am and i can’t sleep at all, although i am tired. Might have something to do with the homemade apricot vodka. There’s lots of ground to cover tomorrow, sunday. It’s nearly 400 km to yerevan, about 8 hours driving time with short breaks. Flying to boston from europe takes less time. Tomorrow we will see the town and its environs. We’ll arrange to take some persimmons and pomegranates back with us. This is pomegranate country, the fountain of pomegranates. There are trees everywhere, growing like weeds. Seems like they spread on their own, a natural divide and conquer mechanism. Unchecked and the trees will devour the whole south of syunik. May take some time though, years or centuries. Who planted the first pomagranate tree here anyway and for what reason? For his own amusement perhaps? Maybe he wanted to conquer the world with pomegranates one millenium at a time. What a disturbed, depraved mind . Hard to imagine death by pomegranate. And i love them, since i was a little boy, eating the kernels plucked from the crannies that my mother filled into a glass bowl for me to devour with a teaspoon. My mom taught me proper table etiqutte at an early age. I can only recall eating chicken wings broiled with a garlic and lemon dressing with my fingers. That and popcorn. I remember each time a kernel exploded in the pot i would leap in sync in place. When will i finally sleep?


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An Expectant Father

My wife’s six months pregnant. I am still striving to comprehend that I am about to be a father in the not-too-distant future. My days of insouciant roaming and oblivious fantasies are about to come to an undesired end. Actually, the fantasies will continue unabated, there’s no stopping imagination and the creative processes that grasp on to your spirit, jerking you forward at an insecure moment when you lament that you have nothing else to express, to produce. If anything, I will probably crank out a lot more literature than I do at present. For one thing I will always have incentive–after all, I will be responsible for feeding and clothing the kid. My mother told me when I sprung the good news that Anush was pregnant that “it had to have happened sometime.” Right, time to grow up, at 37 years of age.

Perhaps it was a wise decision to postpone having a child for so long. It was not an easy feat to find a woman who would endure putting up with my eccentricities while deciding that it would be quite fun to have a baby with me. That took quite a while, but it was worth the trouble getting it right the second time. My wife is so wonderful that at times I wonder how possible it is to be such a fervent, fantastic person. I can’t find anything to complain about her, even when she’s acting up she still makes me swoon. You can’t be angry with her, it is not possible, she’s never guilty of wrongdoing, she doesn’t lie, she doesn’t bitch and moan like most of the other women I have known do. She is an angel, but a pregnant one at that making her not all so innocent.

They tell us the baby is going to be a boy. People take one look at her abdomen and immediately declare it. They are somehow able to deduce from the shape and position what the sex of the child will be, or else they have a strong instinct for such things. The sonographer made it official about six weeks ago. We’ve been trying to choose a name but have run into some stumbling blocks. I insist that the baby have two names, one of them being my father’s and the other of her own choosing, naturally influenced by my advice of course.

It is a strange thought that I will finally have to take on the responsibilities of fatherhood, not because I am not enthusiastic about the new phase I am about to enter in my life. It’s just that I didn’t actually believe that my paternal instincts would actually be applied so late into adulthood. I figured there would always be something to impede my desires to be a parent–namely my still developing career and my wife’s own professional interests. But she also had a strong desire to be a mother, and we were indeed trying in earnest to conceive a child.

Now that the baby is expected I am coming to grips with the reality that awaits me, and the prospect of being a father is less daunting by the day. We are already making preparations, like trying to locate my wife’s baby crib that has changed hands at least three times within her extended family since she grew out of it. My mother has already ordered several garment racks worth of baby clothing of various sizes from online shopping stores that will hopefully last us for a couple of years. I am already studying the aesthetic and hardwearing properties of baby carriers, a mundane, time-consuming task. Seems to obtain something sturdy yet comfortable for the child you need to spend at least a hundred dollars. Then there are all the quality baby toys to find, another chore I don’t especially savor.

The most important part of fatherhood, namely the processes involved in raising my child, will have to be improvised it seems according to the long-experienced parents I have spoke with. I can only sow seeds of basic, fundamental principles that one should foster at an early age– favoring right over wrong, understanding what it means to be good and well-behaved, and teaching the child not to lie. Music education is something I can manage without any real effort–I figure between classical, traditional folk and jazz music he will be fine until he figures out what he really likes later on in his development as a pre-teen and thereafter. I don’t want to dwell too much on silly baby songs other than what the old school Sesame Street programs offered when I was young (who after all can express distain for “C Is For Cookie?”), which are fortunately available on disc for his viewing and hopefully educational pleasure. I think my wife and I will manage quite well. For one thing she is incapable of shouting, even when she get a bit steamed with me it’s never long-lasting. So I can’t imagine her being hard on the child at all to instill discipline, which I suppose is a good thing. I on the other hand have a tendency to go through mood swings. Sometimes if flustered enough I can be quite unreasonable, so that’s something I am afraid of the child seeing or even hearing while in another room. Maybe fatherhood will calm me down so I will be less apt to be moody, I can’t say. But I know that I can do this. I will hopefully make a substantially decent father whom my child will understand, revere and love.


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