Thursday, October 04, 2007

Don't speak!


On Saturday I woke up and I had no voice, literally, all I could produce was a pathetic squeak and a hoarse whisper. The family were of course delighted (when they weren't rolling around laughing!), here was a legitimate excuse not to follow any instructions all day.

I had a terrible day. Never had I realised how much I depend on verbal communication (again, the family will beg to differ, they will tell you that I never shut up!) But seriously, there were times on Saturday when I felt quite panicky because I couldn't speak.

As I was feeling quite ill, Rox offered to do my shopping for me, she agreed to pay with her debit card and I would then transfer the money into her account electronically. She got to the supermarket and did the trolley load of shopping, only to get to the till as they went off line - meaning she couldn't pay with her debit card. In a panic, she phoned me to ask what to do....... have you ever tried to have a phone conversation with no voice?!

My gardener, Simon, comes on a Saturday. He is a delightful, elderly Zulu man, who loves his job, he doesn't stop singing from the moment he begins work, until he gets out of the shower at the end of the day. Grant and I are both very fond of him, but there is one problem with our relationship - I am ashamed to admit that Grant and I speak "kitchen Zulu", this means that we know lots of words and can sound quite impressive, but when faced with a true Zulu linguist, we are completely lost - Simon speaks only real, genuine, proper Zulu.

This small issue of language has led to many hilarious situations. On one occasion, Simon came and told Grant a looong story in his fluent Zulu, Grant gave his standard reply in these situations, "Yebo!" - meaning "Yes!". Grant later came and told me that he had agreed to something, but he wasn't quite sure what, which made me just a tad nervous - with reason, it turned out that Grant had agreed to Simon jumping over our garden wall and stealing one of our neighbour's small banana trees, which is now growing in our garden, being faithfully nurtured and tended by Simon!!!

On Saturday the communication situation was even more hilarious. Simon arrived when I was home alone. The routine is that at about 9am I take him his breakfast of tea and toast. Well on Saturday I stood there, bearing the tea and toast and calling "Simon", while Simon was raking leaves and singing at the top of his lungs! For a while I got side-tracked by my own pathetic voice, I realised that I sounded exactly like Kate Winslet's character in "Titanic", when she lies there trying to call the life-boat back, hoarsely whispering "Help....help" It was quite a touching moment, but then I realised that the tea was burning me and the toast was getting cold. So I went back to squeak-whispering Simon's name as I walked towards him This time our communication was spot on - there stood Simon roaring with laughter at my pathetic voice and I knew exactly what he and I were both thinking..... "dumb woman!"

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons, by Katie Tegtmeyer

3 comments:

Lucy said...

haha I can just hear Rose whispering "come back". Hope your voice is better soon. I get laryngitis ALL the time, I have found that going into a really deep voice helps me get heard.
One time, I had something important to tell my husband and called him at work with that deep voice. He couldn't stop laughing long enough for me to give him the message! Hope my method helps you vocalize. :)

Carrie! :o) said...

ROTFL!!! You're crackin' me up! He stole the neighbor's banana tree!!! Oh my gosh, what a hoot!!

Hope your voice has come back by now. That's no fun!

Wayfarer Scientista said...

Great post! I guess we're getting the benefit of your not being able to speak because you don't need a voice to talk to us :)

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