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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Horrid Voices

About a week ago, I noticed I was saying the word "horrid" quite a lot. I'm not sure why. Whenever I pick up a new word, it's usually on purpose. But when I meet a new friend, I tend to pick up their mannerisms and their vocal inflections on accident.

What I mean is, I'm not trying to mimic them, but I do. My family and my other friends notice this. They can tell who I'm talking to just by how my voice instantly changes when I answer the phone.

Lots of people think I'm funny and clever. But really, I'm only as funny as my friends, since I pick up their funniest things and adopt them as my own. This is why I only hang out with funny, clever people.

The thing is, for the life of me, I can't figure out where I picked up the word "horrid." It's a great word. It tells my listeners exactly what I mean, all on it's own. It's concise. It doesn't need extra filler adjectives to help it convey what you're saying.

I get some of my best phrases from my friend Darcy. I met her 15 years ago when she was dating my boyfriend's best friend. Darcy and I both married those boyfriends, and they are now our husbands. I definitely use the "Darcy Voice" when she calls. If I pick up the phone and start talking to Darcy, my kids start hovering around the phone, begging for play dates with her children. I don't even have to say it's her, they just know.

Darcy has great words and phrases I've adopted over the years. My favorite one is "That hurts my head!" She says this when something is just too much, or too funny.

I've known my friend Marcia for 30 years. We met in junior high. We have some funny voices and phrases that have stuck with us since adolescence. We knew we were mimicking our mothers back then, and now we know we actually sound like them. My mom says "Good Lord!" Marcia's mom says "Oh for heaven's sakes..." When we say these phrases, in our mother's tones, we crack each other up, knowing we're actually saying "What would your mother think of that, young lady?"

I'm pretty good at doing my mom's voice now that I'm in my 40s. I can even fake out my dog, and make her think her grandma's here by saying "Hi! Hi! Hi! How's my girl?" in my mom's voice. The dog will barrel down the stairs barking her best welcome bark for that one. She runs for the door, looks for grandma, wiggles around in her 13 year old puppy way. She sniffs around and whines, trying to figure out where grandma is.

It's kinda mean of me to mess with the dog this way, actually, but it makes my kids laugh. The dog forgets what she was looking for as soon as I pet her and say a few kind words about what a good dog she is. So I don't feel too bad about tricking her.

Maybe my children will play funny little voice recognition tricks on me when I'm old. They'll fake me out with some of these friend voices they've been listening to me pick up over the years and trick me into thinking I have visitors.

Good Lord, that would be horrid.

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