He was doing an experiment. At that age, I’d only seen “crazy professor” types like him in movies and on tv. But here he was, enjoying a revelry at our mountain retreat center. Wild white hair standing on end and all. Pants pulled up high and shirt tucked in and all. He was the mad professor of the mountain and he had some questions for us.
He’d corner us in the dining hall with a tape player in hand. There was something calming about his presence in his quirkiness, something that met the quirkiness in me, the two canceling each other out lending us both some peace for a time. My one friend, Que loved him. She was boisterous and loud, always telling stories. I liked to listen to him, taking in the crazy machinations of his mind.
He carried the tape player so that he could record us. Hanging out in high density areas, he was doing an experiment, he said. I want to know how many of you hate the sound of your own voice. At the time Que was the only one at the mountain retreat who purred with glee as the resonance of her own vocal chords played back into her ears. The rest of us fed into his story: hardly anyone likes to hear their own voice.
Since he did that experiment on us all those years ago, I’ve thought about his story, that rarely anyone can stand to hear their own voice. I’ve made it a point to love myself and, in that, to accept my voice played back at me. Now I sing to myself, at bus stops, near streams in mountains, when I’m lulling around the backyard. I can sufficiently say, I love the sound of my own voice.