Monday, February 23, 2009

The Voices

A friend of mine just started dating a guy she met on, and I was gratified to hear that she's had to contend with "the voices." You know, the voices in your head that tell you you're being a goober in front of somebody that you really don't want to be a goober with.

Let me just say that my friend is not a goober. She's really cool--she can hang out with cool people without spilling something on her shirt, she can go dancing (without irony), she (wait for it) can drink more than one glass of wine. She can do all these things at once and make it look easy. She's a tremendously competent professional who raises money for nonprofits, often by schmoozing celebrities. She schmoozes the celebrities so well that they've been known to get a little fresh with her (you know who you are--oh, wait, the celebrities probably don't read the blog). She loves her friends, is kind to animals, is in no way bipolar or man-hating, and she can cook. No, seriously, like, lived-in-France-and-can-cook-real-French-food can cook, or, if you prefer, can-take-random-ingredients-from-the-fridge-and-make-something-tasty can cook. She is, in short, one hell of a woman.

But the voices don't care. All they care about is that you MUST feel like a moron at all times. So when she invited her dude over for a casual dinner and wore her glasses for the first time, the voices would NOT SHUT UP. They were like, "What, are you undercover as a librarian?"

I'm not suggesting that the voices are only about potential love interests. For example, if a friend invites you out to meet her potential love interest and, say, leaves you alone with him to pick up a pizza, the voices might make you so stupid you can't make intelligent conversation, even if you're given enough conversational legos to make at least thirteen separate intelligent conversations. You should be able to make a veritable Castle of conversation, and yet you can't assemble even a single weenie tower of conversation.

We knew the guy was special when she got back with the pizza and he started telling us a story. This was good, because between the food and his story, we were relieved of the responsibility of giving him a verbal tour of our extremely lame conversational cannon battle scene (ages 5-12). The story starts to get really good, when suddenly he says, "And she's that kind of girl, right, who when she finds something really funny, she cackles like a movie witch!" My friend and I react INSTANTLY. We involuntarily turn to each other, lock eyes, and pause in that way that totally derails his story. Then we struggle to recover. "We don't know anyone like that," I say, "do we?" "NO," she replies, a little too emphatically. "We don't know ANYONE like that." And then we simultaneously pick up our beers and sip them, staring abstractedly into the middle distance.

The truth is that we're both cacklers. We know this because we find each other extremely amusing fairly often. Sometimes there's a sort of cackling arms race where we find each other's cackling amusing. Fortunately, we normally have no shame.

But today isn't normal. I have a brief heart attack, after which my voices say, "Whew! Good thing he's not dating you. It's unlikely that cackling is a deal-breaker for the girlfriend's friend. Also, you'll spend the rest of your life alone. Drink up! Have another slice of pizza." But my friend's voices are going into full Friday Night Lights coach mode. They're frantically scanning through all of her behavior since she met this guy, looking for cackling. "Has she cackled?" "She's probably cackled. Let's go to the tape." [Rewinding tape: squeakysqueakysqueakysqueaky.] Did she cackle when he told her that embarrassing story about his dog?" [squeakysqueaky] "Negative. No cackling at the dog story." "What about at dinner?" [squeakysqueaky] "Negative. There's been no cackling. Now we just have to install the anti-cackle filter, making all her laughter stilted for at least 48 hours. Aaaaaaaaand....done!"

ANYway, we know he's a keeper, because he can shut the voices up. It's a good sign. They need to bottle it and sell it--can you imagine the list of side effects? "Voisuppress is not for everyone. People who take voisuppress may experience gambling urges, recklessness, overconfidence, and dating. Tell your doctor if you're already taking an antidepressant, as some people who take Voisuppress with an antidepressant just experience really, really happy voices." If you're looking for a test subject for a drug like that, you just let me know.

Oh, and by the way, you don't need a boyfriend to turn you into a goober. Because while I was doing research for this blog entry, I found this! How cool is that???? I know. I'm a goober. The voices already told me.

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