Does anyone else do this?
My husband has different voices for the people he talks to. You can almost always tell with whom he is on the phone by the volume of his speech or the sudden disappearance of certain vowels and consonants that might make him seem of one class or another.
I just laughed myself into a coughing spasm as I listened to him make an appointment with a new barber. “Hey! Can I gettanappointment with Pat faw tamarrah?” And he’s yelling on the phone as if the guy was across the street on his stoop instead of on the other end of the phone. If he were calling a new hair salon, I’m certain he would have asked for “an appointment with Pat for tomorrow”, but the fact that this place probably charges no more that $20 for a haircut places it in the category of working class people who, as we who grew up in Brooklyn know, have certain restrictions on the use of vowels, consonants and decibel levels.
I have heard it over and over throughout the years in calls to painters, plumbers, the boilerman, the guy who cuts down our trees. The volume goes up but the tone goes down, deep into the manly chest-voice region. It is a verbal slippage into a blue-collared shirt, designed to make the person on the other end of the line believe you are just a regular guy who understands these things by virtue of the fact that you speak the lingo. Never mind if the blue-collared pro at the receiving end of your query ever set foot in Kings County, he will understand by the tone of your voice and the ‘dems’ and ‘does’ slipping past a suddenly paralytic tongue, that you are man of the people, not ignorant and not to be taken advantage of.
This is a voice that never shows up when he is making an appointment to see the doctor. If he speaks to a broker, you’d swear he was a member of the royal family. He is an actor so these personality switches come as easily to him as time jumping in “Jumpers”. “Now I’m smart!” “Now I’m regular!” “Now you see me!” “Now you don’t!” But unlike the ‘jumpers’, he is totally unaware of these speech patterns. Rather, they spring from his brain unbidden; an unconscious call for help from one peer to another; an “I’m like you so how do I get dis squirrel outta da chimney?” Or like today, “I don’t want to wait three weeks for a hairstylist; I wanna get a heh-cut tamarrah.”