Nose hiccups

My aunt is 51 and only realized in the past few months that she snorts when she laughs. “Don’t you ever listen to yourself?” I asked. This concept seemed to hit her like the first cold drop of a sudden rupture in the clouds. If another relative, of questionable sobriety, hadn’t pointed out this trait of my aunt’s, she might have never been aware.
Maybe that’s why she is so loud?
When my mom calls her sister, I can hear her voice on the other end like echoes off the mountains surrounding her house.

     I, on the other hand, have stood in my high-ceilinged living room, receiver cradled against my cheek, leaving message after message on my own machine. I have obsessed over the sound of my voice.

“I could tell you were a singer, by the timbre of your voice,” I’ve had someone say to me. “Whoa, that didn’t sound like you,” a coworker of mine recently remarked after I’d taken an order on the headset. And these comments kind of fascinate me—the ways in which we perceive ourselves, or the lack thereof. How we listen to each other, with varying levels of overlap and dissimilarity.

     I don’t sing for many people, I’m often my own audience. In that particular situation, I’m mildly terrified of others’ opinions. But my aunt is not embarrassed of her nose-hiccup laughter. Nor should she be. When she tells us all a story, I, too, end up snorting from laughter. There’s a brief moment when she and I look at each other, before giggling on.



3 thoughts on “Nose hiccups

  1. Whenever I hear a recording of my voice, it freaks me out how I always sound like someone else, or someone parodying me. Before I read this post I thought everyone felt that way. But now I feel all self conscious and like I don’t know myself… I’ma go call my cell from the house phone.

    • It’s wild how your voice, like your body, changes with age. Think about it, your voice stems from muscles in your throat and muscles in your mouth. What would we sound like if we all had our teeth pulled out at 25? I bet we would talk like the Muppets. Also, when I was in Paris I smoked twice as much as I do now. My voice got kind of low sexy. It’s interesting too that in French, everything they say comes out of the front of the mouth and there’s no intonation like we have in English. Their language implies things for them, the way they phrases things is more important than how they say it. This is not the case in English. Sounds and Language. Anyway, I digress. Great entry.

  2. I was tortured with having to take a voice class as a pre-req for an acting class. I apparently suffer from an acute “glottal fry.” My professor was, in his words, “left no choice” but to give me a B. Self conscious? Me? Nah….

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