It’s a fun because I am not a techie in any way and do not know a thing about radio communication, but that’s not the issue now.
I had a colleague: Musayelian, Sergei Artavazdovich.
The name is misleading, because he looks like an Armenian least of all: meagre, thin-faced, light hued, and almost pale. On top of that, he was born in Mytishchi in Moscow region.
He was very agreeable and genteel person belonging to the old school of Soviet engineers.
He once explained how he had chosen the cause of his life. During his first year in college, he and his fellow-students were introduced to the captured German deployable automatic relay terminal: USSR did not produce them at that time.
And he said; “On seeing it, I immediately understood that I wanted to be a designer of radio relay equipment”.
And he implemented the idea. Radio relay equipment was the only occupation of his life. His equal in the field are few and he knows them all in person.
He was telling his story and I envied him.
Envied because I always felt myself out of place. I wanted my very own cause, which would have struck me like lightning to make me understand: that suits me best of all. Best of all. For the rest of my life, as the song goes. And that’s the long and the short of it.
I was still a young man and thought that all were professionals around me. They all know who they are and what they want to do. Only I am like a piece of shit in water that drifts freely with no particular direction.
I had the illusion that my lifetime project would set me at ease. Quiet down my shame, the feeling of my defectiveness and incompleteness. Would mitigate the attitude of my parents with their thinly veiled disappointment.
I was living my life. Practiced all sorts of things, even illegal ones. My career unceremoniously ranges from a watchman to general director.
I started a lot of undertakings on a tear. And each of them, after a run of success, invariably gradually died out, until I abandoned it.
All my life is a patchwork. I am acquainted with people from totally different domains and many of them think I am from their circle. I may say: you name it, I tried it.
For quite a while, I entertained the illusion that the Great Cause of All Life would be brought to light: would hit me like a ton of bricks and I would see stars and stay dumbfounded – just like Sergei Artavazdovich instructed.
I never felt myself in the right place anywhere. I am always half – half bred, half-brain, half genius. Remember what Andrei Voznesenski said: “We are the children of half travelled roads, Our name is “Halfway”… Forgive us, if you can, None has handled the road; But was there any road in store?”
Incessant half. I am always at home among strangers. And more often than not a foreign native.
I feel drawn to people but make a U-turn midway.
I always get into gear but abandon the matter, when the end is just steps away. There is half a step to accomplishment, but I have already no interested, it dies down.
Incessant half. A merman: half-fish – half-human. I am alien to land: the tail gets in the way. I am alien to water: there is no place for terricolous humans in the muddy pools.
It was tough to live with it until I came to know myself better. And at a certain point, I had accepted myself as I am: with all my gad, incompleteness and halfness.
That’s the way I am. I will never find a lifetime project. I will never become statical.
I am water or wind: my life consists of chops and changes. This is my nature. My halfness is my main resource.
I have a hard time living with my halfness. It is never-ending solitude. Never-ending anxiety. Never-ending feeling of littleness and foreignness in a great area, where everybody seem (only seem, I know) to be at home, except me.
But somewhere along the line I acquired a firm conviction that I cannot and do not want to part with my gad.
My gad is my power, my energy. I write, live, observe, meddle and travel just to abate this tremendous din of eternity that devours me. When you get right down to it, everything I do in life is my therapy. I cure my half-blood soul, which is very lonely. But I admit it very rarely.
If I had none of this split, this continuous schizo, I would be much more predictable, self-complacent and satisfied guy. Just like Moscow Olympics bear: high-colored and relaxing.
And definitely much more boring. You would hardly read these lines now.
Sometimes I am very scared in this world. And I wail, when nobody sees it.
Mine is not the easiest lot, but I now understand the greatness of this flair and shall not part with it for the world.
Halfway is not a judgment of court. It is the fate though. And the fate, as the oriental fatalism goes, is inexorable.
The profound religious sense of humility is in acceptance of fate. And in vigilance: there beyond the miseries stay special treasures granted only personally to those put on trial by God.
All those greatly loved by Him are treated in this way.
After all, nobody promised that contact with God guarantees earthly comforts to a mortal, did he?
It is not uncommon that those who grieve, worry or suffer are convinced by others that their trouble is nothing as compared to the problems of those who are crooked, cross-eyed, lame, legless, warring; lost their mom, dad, granddaughter or dog. They are reminded that our grandfathers have gone through the war, whereas our grandmothers raised ten children each, and their misfortune is insignificant against these calamities. It’s bullshit and not misfortune and the good life’s gone to their head.
And it often works, unfortunately: people pretend to themselves that everything is going well and their problems are paltry against REAL problems.
They hide their emotions ever more thoroughly, use artificial smile and thus go on, until it ends up in mental depression, which needs drug therapy, or in psychiatric case.
In truth, there are no important or unimportant problems: they are all important. Irrespective of the cause, the feelings evoked by a life situation are real. And they cannot be similized.
However trivial a situation may seem to onlookers, it is burning and agonizing within. And often looks desperate, which brings frustration.
Pain is a mechanism of attracting attention. When something aches, support and acceptance are needed. Recovery excludes carelessness.
Whichever the cause of pain may be, it must not be waved aside. The pain may only be gone through, otherwise you would have to drag it with you, who knows why and where.
There is already too much pain in the world, why those who had more than a fair share of trouble should suffer?
It is easy to be pitiful to women crying from hunger and cold, to the old people and children; it is evident and anyone is able to do it. You do not need largesse for that.
It is much more difficult to have compassion upon a person who seems to be all right, but does not dare to admit even to himself that he is none too well deep in his mind.
To feel sorry on those who are outwardly successful, though put on impudence and cynicism. Because they are also hurt and sick at heart but shy in owning it for fear of rudeness and being reluctant to show their subtility, fragility and weakness. Yes, their rejected gad. Their halfway.
They are hurt and sick at heart in earnest with their soul torn to shreds, whereas they laugh and try convince all, and themselves in the first place, that they are the happiest persons on earth.
No. They are not. And they do not feel good.
And the soul knows too well, what it means: not feeling good. It’s when you have everything but still feel like a pauper asking for bread… and not having it. When the passage to your heart is closed by a wall and it opens only by cardiac break.
We live in the world, where someone is on top and someone at the bottom, whereas we are always in the middle.
We are chronically on the gad: fancy ourselves kings but suffer as common shepherds.
I have a strange flair: I am able to comfort those rejected by others who assumed that the former “do not need it”. Considered them too trouble-free though they covertly and timorously ask for compassion.
I know how they, or you, for that matter, feel bad, agonizing, bitter, dismal and lonely, being deprived of church, priest, home, father, wise friend, understanding woman, loving adviser. There is nowhere to go: neither here, nor there.
There is a lot of suffering, but no chance to share, embrace, unburden or have your cry out.
And I feel such individuals. And gently love them – you.
I am cut of the same cloth. I know. I know that that pain is genuine.
At some moment of life, I received a strange message from God, a hint. I wanted to know my predestination, my place in the world and just assumed that my never-ending vagabondage might be predestination. My incessant futile pursuit and soothed souls on the way may be the purport in itself. The raison d’etre is not so much important as the process of its search.
I am on the gad; I have a heart for the likes of me and feel to be their guardian angel. I write for those who grieve alone in the night unable to make head or tail of life.
You are OK. You’re just on the gad, but that’s nothing, that’s not a stigma and not a big deal. It is tougher this way, but more interesting, believe me.
And if you feel pain, you have the right for it.
Each time the world shrinks to the size of a cubicle with neither entrance, nor exit – remember me.
I am your icon. Consolation of All Sorrows. You may talk to me. And I am thinking of you right now.
You are not alone. I am with you.
And this is not the end of it yet. We will meet, even if we are different.