May 9, 2003
Hearing Voices

His voice was a surprise.

David and I "talked" to each other online for three years -- in the Baby Boomer Chat Room, through e-mails and i.m. conversations, via the occasional snail-mail exchange -- before I ever actually heard his voice. I don't know what I was imagining all those years, exactly: something pinched and nasally and vaguely nerdy-sounding, maybe, to match the pinched/nasally/vaguely nerdy *vision* I had of him in my head. (This, based on the one and only photo I'd ever seen of him up to that point: a muddy outdated .jpg viewed on a shitty 10" 8-bit PS/1 monitor.)  So when I picked up the phone, that first night that he called me in Oregon -- as we cautiously decided to bridge the gap between long-distance online pals and long-distance phone pals -- I had no idea what to expect.

Here's what I wasn't expecting: the rich, engaging voice on the other end of the line, oozing through my receiver and into my ear like warm melted butter. My toes curled at the very sound of it.

They've remained in a state of perpetual curlage, ever since.

David clearly missed his calling in life. With a voice like his -- smooth, deep, pleasantly pitched, persuasively modulated -- he could have been a radio psychologist, or a televangelist, or a $5,000/hour Voiceover Artist. (Would you buy a Mercedes-Benz SL500 from this man? *I* would ... and I don't even DRIVE.) I fell in love with that voice the very first night I heard it. I fell in love with its mellifluous quality: if voices were coffee, his would be a cup of Midnight Mocha Supremo. I fell in love with his command of the language, and with the quick and lively wit behind the voice. Most of all, though, I fell in love with the stuff that voice was saying to me.

It's not too late. You can be saved. You're not alone.

'I could listen to that voice forever,' I remember thinking, the first time I heard it. Lucky me: that's pretty much the way things have turned out.

That voice is the first thing I hear when I open my eyes in the morning,  and the last thing I hear when I'm drifting off to sleep at night. It serenades me from the shower while I'm getting dressed for work, and it keeps me company while I'm reheating the spaghetti sauce for dinner. I listen to that voice in the car, in the grocery store, on the bike trail, over bowls of miso soup at our favorite Japanese restaurant. It talks to me about politics and Pere Ubu and Bay Area weather patterns ... it explains the difference between low end mutual funds and no-load mutual funds ... it tells me long funny stories about growing up Punk in the 70's. (Sometimes it tells me the same long funny stories about growing up Punk in the 70's four or five or eighty-seven times. But I don't mind.) The voice never yells at me. It never berates or overruns me, just to make a point. It never calls me "Dipshit," or makes fun of the way my butt looks in bike shorts, or threatens to put a tire iron through the monitor if I don't get off the &%$^# computer right now ... and while I'm up, would I grab him another beer?

Mainly what the voice does is make me feel safe and special and loved, every time I hear it.

Would I have still fallen in love with David, even if he didn't have such a fabulous speaking voice? Probably. He turned out to have a lot of other stuff going for him, after all. (Looks ... brains ... humor ... the grooviest record collection this side of Ed Kaz.) I'm sure I would have found a way to live with a voice that was ever-so-slightly pinched and nasally and vaguely nerdy ... as long as the rest of him wasn't.

And as long as the voice was still saying stuff like  It's not too late. You can be saved.

You're not alone.


Happy Birthday, Honey!
I love you very much!

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