Friday, October 23, 2009

Did She Say That, Or Did I?

I called my voice mail the other day and my sister answered! It scared me. I thought perhaps she had moved into my home. As I began to explain that I wasn’t calling her, I was calling my voice mail, she claimed that she were me and would I please leave a message. I made a smart remark and hung up the phone!

You see, there are six of us. An eighteen year span separates youngest from oldest, yet we all have the same voice. I’ve learned to use my mother’s tactic when receiving a phone call from one of them. Just listen and comment “Ahh” or “I see” until I am confident which sister is on the line. Sometimes I attempt to steer the conversation in a direction that will cause her to identify herself, such as, “Are your kids coming for the holidays?” This is only effective for those sisters with grown children living away from home, which is almost all of us. “How’s the weather?” works for those in Eastern Idaho as it is always colder and windier than Southwest Idaho. It narrows the field by two if the answer is “fine” and three if the answer is “cold and miserable.”

One sister had occasion to contact a teacher friend of mine for a reference on a prospective employee. “Bet ya can’t guess who he said I sounded like,” she challenged. Duh! The teacher, a wannabe rock star, suggested us sisters form a singing group. Bad idea. None of us can carry a tune. There are those that believe they can, however, they sound exactly like the rest of us!

An English instructor once suggested a technique for preparing a speech. Taping the practiced speech would allow a better handle on inflection and timing. So I tried. Another bad idea. When I played it back, I was certain someone had erased my voice and replaced it with her own in an attempt to confuse me and sabotage my English grade!

My parents had so many daughters that I thought they ran out of ideas when naming us. Maybe it was foresight. Wise they were to have given some of us similar names. I always thought their confusion was a slip of the tongue – Kaye, Carol, Claire, Barbara, Bonnie. Maybe their confusion was really due to a slip of the ear.

It’s hereditary. I had a phone visit with my younger sister for several minutes the other day. Then she revealed her true identity. She was not the mother. She was the daughter. It’s passing from generation to generation and I’m beginning to feel like my mother!

The similarities of voice have been convenient for denial purposes. I can claim “I never said that!” The listener isn’t certain I did. For if they heard me, they very well may have heard my sister!