Voices


I have learned, over the years, that I am a supremely auditory person.  I learn almost exclusively through the auditory channel.  I worked for more than 25 years as a Speech/Language Pathologist, which honed those auditory skills to an even higher degree.

My auditory tendencies make for some interesting situations, I must say. For example, when my class is working on geometry, or tangrams or tesselations, I am often left with my mouth open and a blank expression on my face while one of the ten year olds explains the math to the rest of the class. This is visual learning!  I am, alas, completely flummoxed.

As a hearing based learner, I have a tendency to remember people by their speech, rather than their names.  I can’t tell you how many times I have run into someone on the street or at the grocery store and had one of those complete blank-outs about their name, while at the same time clearly picturing the pitch, cadence and pronunciation of something that I heard them say.  I can remember how someone laughs long after I remember the color of their eyes. I can name the actor in any voice-over within 5 seconds of hearing the voice.

When I was in High School and touch tone phone replaced rotaries, I could remember the tune of my friends’ phone numbers even when the numbers escaped me.  Weird, I know. I am a listener!

I am so completely auditory that I have been known to fall in love with the sound of a singer’s voice, only to be crushed once I see his face (think Eddie Vedder).  I love the sound of wonderful voices!

I am, no surprise, a devoted radio listener.  My XM radio is often tuned to either NPR or the political station POTUS.  Every morning as I commute to work, I listen to Tim Farley on POTUS.  His voice is measured, mellow, calm and resonant. His pronunciation is perfect.  He makes me laugh and he makes me think. I have a little crush going on!   I don’t know his age, his political preferences or his eye color. I just know that when I hear his voice, I tune right in and start to listening.

So I react with some trepidation when I hear that one of my favorite “voices” will be seen on TV. Today I found out that Tim was being broadcast on BBC TV. My reaction?  “Oh, no! I don’t want to know!”  I want to think of Tim Farley as handsome, smiling, dimpled, fit and relatively young (you know, like, my age).  I shudder to think that he might be bald or fat or have a huge honker of a nose.

I feel the same way about the people whose work I read on line or in the print press.  I love the sound of certain writers! I love the rhythm and tone of their words and thoughts.  I want to believe that Barbara Kingsolver is tall and strong and has thick golden hair. I don’t know why; its just how I see her and I want her to look that way!  I want to think that Suzanne Collins looks a lot like Katniss Everdeen.  She sounds like Katniss, she should look like her!

In the age of the internet, when we can Google everyone on earth, we can see the face of every voice we encounter.  I know that some people immediately look up the picture of anyone they find interesting on the radio or in the print press. Not me!

Let me keep my illusions. Let me hold on to my romantic ideals and my beautiful images.  The connection between the voice and the ear is an intimate one; as I drive along in the early morning half light, I feel as if those voices are speaking or singing to me, and me alone.  We share something special and precious in our anonymous exchange.   I know that the Voice is speaking to an idealized “someone” out there, and I know that there is no chance for me to disappoint. And I hold the image of the “golden voice” in my head and in my heart.

I don’t want to know if he has warts.

9 thoughts on “Voices

  1. Let me help you, PDD, so you do not have to look me up on You Tube or Face Book! My thick hair and perfectly fit body are in style, up-to-date, tasteful and colour coordinated. I enunciate clearly with a gently lower timbre that somehow commands attention. I don’t drop my voice at the end of sentences. My inviting laughter never overpowers and to hear me sing would conjure visions of…well, think of your favourite jazz or blues vocalist. If only my wooden nose would stop growing. 😀

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  2. This is an interesting and well-written post. I learn from reading, and I almost never listen to the radio! When I was growing up, teaching was very much geared to my learning style, and I did very well in school. I’m glad that we are now recognizing other learning styles so that children are not short-changed and become convinced that they are poor learners, when in fact they are just different learners.

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    • Thanks for your kind words!
      I think that we try to recognize all learning styles now, but we still are very much geared toward the auditory-verbal kids in school. It is much harder to reach the tactile learners and the visual learners when the curriculum is so much more structured and scripted because of all the stupid tests. Still, at least now we know about the different styles!

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  3. This post made me think of how I feel about books I’ve read that they make into films. They always shatter the images I have in my head and I am frequently disappointed. I recently read ‘We have to talk about Kevin” and whilst I was reading it I learned that Tilda Swinton was to play the role of the mother – this was NOT the woman in my head as I was reading yet Tilda pushed into my mind and for the rest of the book she was the image in my head. Here’s to keeping our illusions 😆

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    • Oh, I know! I have been known to spend an entire movie muttering, “That is NOT what he looks like!” I’m afraid to see “The Hunger Games” because that is not MY Gale!

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  4. I am partially deaf which made for happy students on the left side of my classroom. Having read this, it occurs to me that I probably completely failed the auditory learners in my class. It never occured to me that some of my students were listeners. 🙂

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