Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Their Voices

I took Teddy to try out a different doggie daycare today, the one at VCA Animal Hospital.  He's only going to be there for a few hours and for one good playtime, but that way, they can see if he eats bark.  Last time we tried out a doggie daycare, he ate bark, a lot of bark.  It cost us $543 for x-rays and the visit to the vet.  I'm happy that these people are willing to see what happens, not to rule out his being there because they have bark in their play area.  They haven't condemned him to living in a basket muzzle while he's there either. 

But that's not what I wanted to tell you.  I wanted to tell you about anthropomorphism.  I am condemned to that embarrassing state of mind in which I try to imagine what my pets are thinking, giving them human voice to go along with their eloquent expressions. At least, in that, I am not alone.

It turns out that the lady bagging my groceries at Whole Foods has a made-up voice for her dog.  It was her husband's doing, though he won't admit to it, and his perfect voice makes her laugh out loud when she thinks of it while she's putting my milk and shish kabob ingredients into my ratty old plastic bags.  The cashier and I laugh along with her though we can't hear the voice because her husband isn't there and wouldn't have performed the voice even if she'd asked him. 

Rachel has a voice for her dog Rex.  His is a Forrest Gump kind of voice, as if he's from the deep South and is very polite.  Her dog's voice is low and calm and seems to be in command.  Rachel mimics her husband's voice for Rex too.  It's so funny that, again, I can laugh even though Wendell isn't there to perform it.

What is it about men that they can have such great and wickedly funny voices for their dogs, yet they won't admit to it, let alone do it in front of their wives friends?  I want to hear his voice for Rex.  I really do.  I'm not such a stranger after all, am I?  Ah, Rachel and I seem to have that problem a bit, that we're together so much that we're relaxed around each other, but our husbands aren't there yet.  Hell, I don't really care.  Well, I have to admit that I do care, at least a little.  It was always my job when I was a kid to make people laugh to get them comfortable in a social setting.  It's a hard legacy, but I'm learning to break it.

So here it is - Mike has the perfect voice for Teddy, it's something I can copy pretty well if I try.  Mike barely does the voice for me now that I'm trying to do it.  Our version of Teddy's voice cracks when he talks because he's a teenager.  He's kind of whiny too, like he's going to miss out on the last piece of pizza while he's still hungry. In fact, we have voices for the cats too.  In my imagination, I hear them.  I have to be careful, don't I, not to say I hear voices in my head.  I always have a song running through my head too.  Is that like hearing voices?  Anyway, I can imagine the cats talking to each other and to Teddy.  Today, it went like this:

"Hey, the slave-woman took the smelly dog away," said Seth, coolly.

"You mean that thing that looks like a coyote?  It is smelly, isn't it?  I wish it would stop slobbering on my mouse toys. Most of them are slimy and ruined," said Buddy, stretching out a leg to lick his butt.  His voice sounds like he smoked too many cigarettes, though he uses a baby kitty voice on all the people around him. 

"Do you think they'll bring him back?  I miss whacking him.  There isn't anything to do."  Seth sat with his front paws folded in the front, looking like the Sphinx. 

"What the hell?"  said Buddy, moving into a yoga pose.  "You're daft.  I hope she took him to the orphanage."

"What's an orphanage?" asked Seth.

"It's that cold concrete place where slave-people come look at you to see if you're the true king."

"Never heard of it."  Seth got up and walked casually toward Buddy.

"What? You've got to be kidding me," said Buddy. "You really are spoiled."

"I really am king.  Now bow before me, serf."  And then Seth licked Buddy twice then grabbed him by the back of the neck and rolled him over. 

About that time, Mike came home with Teddy who eagerly raced up the stairs, then from being to being saying, "Hi!  Hi!  I missed you.  I love you.  Got anything to eat?"  Teddy's voice cracked a couple of times.

"Thought they took you to the orphanage," Buddy muttered.

"Oh, sorry.  I didn't mean to bump you.  They did, but they came back and got me.  There were other dogs to play with and toys and ..."

"Shut up!" Buddy said and whacked Teddy on the head. "You smell bad."

"Oh, sorry," Teddy said from under the coffee table where he had retreated, his voice cracking again. 

"You know," Seth said in a smooth voice, walking close to Teddy's haunches to taunt him, "you're adopted."

"Oh," said Teddy, believing every word and looking so very ashamed. 

Thank you for listening, jb

No comments:

Post a Comment