It should come to no surprise to those that know me, or are forced to endure my presence, that I have a volume control issue with my voice. I can often be heard shouting things that in a normal conversation would not even give occasion to raise one’s voice. For example, a friend and I were at a Subway restaurant, about to get a sandwich before seeing a movie. We placed our orders at about the same time and when it came time to pay the sales clerk asked, “Are you together or separate?”
I shouted in reply “UH, SEPARATE!” The sales clerk stepped back, not accustomed to having otherwise normal responses bellowed at her. My friend started laughing uncontrollably and I turned a deeper shade of violet than my usual flushed mauve.
Another time the same friend and I were at Barnes and Noble. Again, it came time to make our purchases and an innocent sales clerk asked, “Do you have a savings card?” Not thinking anything of it I replied, “No, I don’t.” It wasn’t until the sales clerk’s eyes grew to the size of dinner plates and my friend began laughing that I realized I had, again, shouted what should have been a spoken reply.
I have taken to trying to listen to my own voice as I speak not due to any self-absorption but to spare myself any future embarrassment. I am already 6”3, weigh over 300 pounds, and have the reddest face out of almost anyone you’ve ever seen. Unfortunately I usually only realize what has happened after the fact.
Such was the case the other day when, as my wife dropped me off for a class, I told her, jokingly, “Only a complete sucker would donate blood.” She turned red and turned to look out of the windshield, directly in front of us was a group of students unloading a Red Cross truck, setting up for a blood drive on campus. From their shocked looks it was apparent I had, again, shouted something inappropriate.
I did the only thing one can do when something as embarrassing as this happens, turned a deeper hue of scarlet, ducked my head, and hurried on my way as quickly as I could while my wife laughed and left me to my fate.