Sunday, June 14, 2020

Voice and Noise

Sound affects me. Probably too much. The sound of a person’s voice may either attract or repulse. This has been true as long as I can remember.

It has happened many times, countless times, that what seemed an attractive woman simply opened her mouth … and whatever attraction she held was instantly snuffed. She needn’t even be speaking to me. If she’s with a friend in a cafe, at the next table, I will sometimes have to move seats.

It’s not just the texture or volume of the voice, but the manner of speech: the rhythm, diction, whatnot. All can be fetching or fatal. But mainly it’s the voice itself.

Men’s voices too, and children’s. There are men, if I had to work with them, it would be daily stress. Needless to say, working with a woman whose voice grated would be even worse. Because fact: Women talk more than men.

Among the children I teach there are some that have the loveliest voices. I don’t mean that high-pitched, innocent “child’s voice” either. Actually the opposite. A child’s voice that has timbre, a bit of resonance, is the most beautiful. My student with the fitting name Bella, now ten or so, is a delight to listen to. Her classmate Wesley too.

But also: Regardless of the person I’m with, music that annoys me can completely ruin a meal. The volume doesn’t have to be up. It just has to be trash, and audible.

And especially: Devices that speak, with their canned recorded voices, are anathema. Since they first appeared, I've seen them as a threat, a curse. Worse, there are more such devices every year. Regardless of what they say, whatever the importance of the warning, I want to smash them. And perhaps someday will.

I have never and will never talk with Siri. I’d rather not know the answer. I’d rather get lost.

Siri: that hydra-headed yet ever headless demon from Hell.

Have some deadpan with your coffee. Check out Idiocy, Ltd. Dryest humor in the west.

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