On an average Wednesday evening a few friends sat around a table that held several of plates of mezzes (middle eastern appetizers) and some half filled glasses. Eventually the conversation came around to why Armon was feeling sad.
“Che baba,” he said protesting the claim. “I’m very happy,” he continued. “I go vacations,” he offered as proof against his friends’ claim that he was sad.
Armon has just returned from a weeklong trip to Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas in Mexico and is regaling his friends with stories of his adventures.
“We did sport activity,” he says. His English, after many years in the United States, still has a heavy Persian accent with its sing-sing song quality and often dropped articles in his sentences. “ATV (all terrain vehicle). I love ATV, man. Swimming, fishing, sunset cruise,” he says listing all the activities in which participated during the week.
The vacation was an all boys week, part of their twice yearly ritual of bonding through such male activities as sports, eating and drinking.
Although some of the others on the trip to Mexico are married Armon is completely unattached.
“What are you getting away from?” I asked curious as to know the daily stresses that called for a vacation.
“Actually, nothing,” he responds. “I love my job. Every morning I wake up and… I love my job.”
The boon in construction during the last decade has been a blessing for Armon. His specialty is installing fire extinguishers and sprinklers in new buildings, a field he’s been involved in for the past eighteen years.
“I love my job,” he stresses again explaining how he likes the exactness of the task and the clean nature of the work but mostly he cherishes his work schedule. “I start 7 o’clock and I finish 2:30. 2:30 I come home. Eat lunch. Take a nap. That’s it. The next day I start again,” he says describing a typical day. “I love my job.”
There is leisureliness to his job. “The crew is all my friends. I go to supplier and have coffee over there.” It wasn’t always so easy. He was out of work all those years ago until a friend took him to a construction site and introduced him to the task which he hated doing at first. Eventually, after almost two years, he began to like it. “When you start learning professionally you appreciate your job.” Still, there are aspects of the job he doesn’t love. “Our job the owner never appreciate your job,” he explains. “What is this? We don’t need the sprinklers. We don’t like this,” he says mimicking the voice and tone of some of the owners. “At least when I see everything perfect, I enjoy myself.”
Before the construction industry, Armon was involved in the auto industry working with his brother but he found it too unpredictable. “I liked it but I cannot make money every month. In the car business one month you make money and the other month you don’t make enough. I cannot live like that,” he explains. “Here at least you fix your life. You know that every month you have income.”
“Why do you look forward to a vacation?” I asked curious to know why a man who loves his job as much as Armon would want to get away.
“Because I see everybody going,” he says simply. “When everyday you’re happy why you need vacation? I’m relaxed. I came home 2:30 every day. Take a nap. I go gym everyday. And most nights I go out.”
He finds that he gets bored after five days while on vacation and wants to come home. “Because how long you can go jet ski, jet ski. Go ATV, go swimming. Because same thing I can do here.”
Armon is perfectly happy maintaining his life the way it is now. Although business has been down more than thirty percent during this economic downturn he is not concerned. “I don’t have any extra stuff. My house, my payment is same as rent. I don’t have any car payment, this, that. That’s why I go to work, don’t go I don‘t care. I like that. No worries.”
“What about the future?” I asked. “Don’t you want to get married?”
“I don’t think so anymore. It’s too late. For relationship, for married or something. Because even for children, 40 -43 years old, to bring children in this world I think is too late,” he says with a resigned air. “I don’t know.”
At thirty-nine years of age he considers himself too old to start a family. He had a girlfriend once but that was long ago. “It didn’t work out,” he says and attributes its demise to his social habits. “I don’t know. Maybe I go to much outside. Clubs, this that. I don’t know.”
But Armon is very much aware of the passage of time. “Honestly, the times is fly,” he says and goes on to explain how it’s working again him. “How I think if you find somebody right now, after one, two, three years you marry, and then after one or two years you have children, you’ll be 44-45 years old. You don’t think so is too old?” he asks his friends for confirmation. Although they don’t agree he remains unconvinced. “I think it’s too late. You don’t enjoy with your children.”
He is pragmatic and knows that he doesn’t want to be old and alone. “Maybe it’s happen. I don’t know. Everything is happen. I’m open to it but I don’t go to club to find somebody. That’s when I’m thinking like American. I live day by day. No plan. Anything happen, happen.”