I’m delighted with our West Hollywood abode — two cats, great location, hardwood floors, nicely furnished, low rent — but there’s this guy upstairs with a loud voice. He’s one of those friendly smoothie types, and totally in love with his own honky voicebox — actually a combination of a foghorn and a French horn.
The problem is that he bellows in a mild sort of way — his voice volume is always set to at least eight — with occasional high-pitched giggles and tee-hees. Always on the phone, always chuckling and smooth-talking his pallies and always extra-double audible.
My guess is that deep down this guy is some kind of frustrated talk-show host or March of Dimes charity emcee, but I’m telling you that listening to that honking voice for hours on end is awful.
Most people who’ve been decently raised and acquired a little cultivation understand by the time they’re ten or twelve that there are three voice levels in polite society — (a) intimate (low), (b) conversational (medium) and (c) addressing people in a Madrid bullfight stadium without a microphone (the guy upstairs).
Foghorn Leghorn doesn’t know, doesn’t care, can’t be bothered…he just adores that wonderfully lulling sound, that calming vocal-chord vibration, that feeling of being the ostensible “charmer” with the smoothly braying donkey voice. On top of which he has heavy feet — he’s always clomping around, which is another indication of a lack of couth.
Needless to add this guy represents a common plague of the modern age — loud, coarse people who are more or less indifferent to the fact that they might be aurally torturing (or at least afflicting) others nearby. Guys like this are all over. A couple of summers ago I was sitting with Tatyana at an outdoor table at Cafe Camille, and we were rolling our eyes about the sound of four or five Ugly Americans a couple of tables away who couldn’t (wouldn’t) keep their voices down. I got into trouble when I complained about this syndrome in 2010 — my mistake was mentioning that the ethnicity of the bellowers.