Thursday, May 5, 2011

Love in any language? No thanks.

I was sure that I had posted about a guy I met at the bus station who confessed his undying love for me, but I have looked through two months of my posts and can't find anything written about him. So, a brief introduction before I write about this week's events....

Back in February and March, when I traveled to Bakuriani and then Sighnaghi, I had the same bus driver and talked with him and his assistants. One of the assistants had shown me to my seat on the bus both times, and the second time, he asked me for my phone number so that he could text me. I gave it to him. (First mistake.) No sooner had the bus pulled away from the station in Zugdidi, when my phone rang -- it was Kakha (I think that's his name). He wanted to make sure it was my phone.... .and then the texts started. I didn't understand most of them -- he doesn't know any English. One of them that I did understand asked when I was going back to the U.S. Somehow in my reply, he thought that I said "tomorrow," and so he thought that I had left the country.

Two weekends ago, I went to Batumi. I took a marshutka from the bus station. I didn't see Kakha, but I did see some of the drivers whose busses/marshutkas I have taken to various locations around the country. Someone must have told Kakha that they had seen me..... and the texts and calls started again.

I understand enough Georgian to know when someone is asking me out, and I know enough to decline the invitation. But to Georgian men, "no" doesn't mean "no." (Georgian women have a bad habit of saying "no" when they really mean "yes." So Georgian men are conditioned to treat a "no" as "try harder.") So when I say, "No," his answer is, "Why?" -- to which I reply, (all of this is in Georgian), "I don't want to." But this does not compute. So he again asks, "Why?" This is where it all breaks down. I don't know the words to tell him that I have no interest in him -- that I do not want to be pursued -- please leave me alone. I would be friends with him, but Georgian men do not understand the concept of having women-friends. Women are for marrying. Well, not this woman!

This week, he called me at least ten times. Twice I answered. We went through the same conversation -- How are you -- Fine -- When are you coming to Zugdidi -- I don't know -- I will come to Shamgona to see you -- No -- Why -- I don't want you to -- Why -- ....... That's when I hang up the phone. He calls back several times, but I don't answer. I just click the phone off. So he texts me that he loves me and I am beautiful. I don't reply.

When he called earlier in the week, I told Tea, and I told her that I don't know what to tell him to get him to leave me alone. She said that he has no clue that I really don't want to see him and probably can't even fathom that I wouldn't want to. Thus, his insistence and persistence. She told me the next time he asks why I don't want to see him, to tell him, "Me mqkhavs chemi qatsi," (I have a man/boyfriend), and see if he backs off.

He called again today. We went around and around the same conversation that ended only when I hung up on him. He called back four times -- I didn't answer. A minute later, my phone dinged with my text alert. I opened it -- Another message that he loves me. I typed back the message that Tea told me to write. For a few minutes, my phone was silent. Then another ding. This time the message was so long, it had to be close to the character-limit for a text. I had no idea what it said, so I took my phone to Tea.

I told her that he called again. She shook her head in disgust. I said that I had told him what she had suggested I say about already having a boyfriend. Then I handed her my phone for her to see the reply. I watched her face as she read it. She bit her lip, shook her head, "phsaw-ed" a few times, and bit her lip again. When she finished reading it, she started laughing and shaking her head. Here's a rough translation of his text: "Does he love you as much as I love you? You are everything to me. I think of you all the time. Everywhere I look, I think I see you. I would do anything for you. I'll learn English. You are the most beautiful woman in the world and I love you more than anything."

Oh my.

Tea and I talked about what I should do to get him to stop hounding me. We decided that together we would come up with something to reply back that he would understand -- she would write it in Georgian on my phone and send it. So, while I kneaded tomorrow's bread dough, Tea manned my phone. We told him that he needs to stop calling me and texting me and that my "no" means "no." We said that I am in love with someone else and I have no interest in pursuing any kind of relationship with him, so please leave me alone.

My phone has been silent since Tea pressed "send" while I looked on, hands mired in the sticky dough.

Sticky, indeed -- how do I get myself into these sticky situations?

And tomorrow I am headed to Tbilisi... by bus. This could be interesting.


  1. Stef, I remember this original story!! funny, but not! oh my!! maybe peace of mind is worth the price of a new phone number??