Hey! I can't talk. Or, I can talk– that is, my vocal cords are capable of producing sounds that exit past my lips– but I prefer not to, because I get tired of having to repeat myself over and over due to the fact that my voice is half-gone. Sometimes it's only a quarter-gone, and then other times it's fully gone. Apparently it depends on the pitch? And it's frustrating as hell because I know exactly what I'm trying to say.
What I say: Hi, I was just wondering if you had any more of the soy turkey in stock?
What other people hear: Hi, _ was __st __nder___ if __u __d an_ more of the so_ tur___ _n stock?
It's lots of fun.
(It's not fun at all.)
And I guess my general, fully-functioning speaking voice is already pretty hard to understand? My mom complains constantly that: a) I'm too quiet, b) I'm talking too quickly, c) I'm mumbling ("just like your dad!"), or d) all of the above. Even TheNoah tells me I talk too quietly and there are moments where I can tell he's trying very, very hard not to throttle me and instead just asks me, as patiently as he can, to say what I just said again for the 57th time.
Which isn't to say I'm not capable of hollering; my lifetime is riddled with instances of people telling me to use my "indoor voice" (especially in my childhood and in high school). I think the major issue in my finding a happy middle ground is that the acoustics inside of my head are all fucked up. Everything is set to MAX VOL/REVERB, so what sounds to me to be a perfectly audible tone is in fact only a few notches above a whisper. Either that or I just have superior hearing and all you other people have some serious wax buildup problems.
Anyway. I've been traveling! I was in the Bay Area for almost two weeks last month, followed by another week in Seattle; then I was in L.A. for a couple of days, and now I've just gotten back from Denver. So the traveling hasn't exactly been exotic, but it's been a nice break from the peaking Vegas heat (although because my body has acclimated to triple-digit days, whenever I've been in other cities and the temps have been in the 70s-80s and everyone is prancing around saying, "Oh, this weather is so beautiful and perfect!", I'm huddled in a corner and shivering pitifully).
In the Bay Area, the highlight was probably getting to drive myself around everywhere. TheNoah had to take off for Kentucky for a few days to deliver a keynote and speak on some panel for a conference, so I was left to my own devices and was handed the key to the Fanta. Now, I've certainly spent enough time with him up there, zooming through all the crazy freeways between San Jose and Berkeley, but I've always been the passenger, and thus I had no idea how to get anywhere. My entire knowledge of San Francisco locales was based on proximity to either a BART station or Ike's .
So, armed with Google Maps, I quickly piled my plate high with some SF city street (and Bay Area freeway) learnin'. I got to experience glorious rush hour traffic AND fog AND night driving/parking (finding a parking spot in the City is a unique adventure all on its own) and remained unscathed, and to be honest I felt like I deserved a goddamned medal for it. I despise City driving, and I've ultimately come to conclude that the reason I didn't absorb any navigational know-how in the hundreds of hours I've racked up sitting next to TheNoah while he drove everywhere is because I would just zone out as much as possible in order to forget the fact that we were driving in the City.
We were in Seattle for a conference, and on the second night there was a sponsored "Casino Night" at the aquarium. Highlight of Seattle? Wandering into the room with the touch tank and proceeding to touch everything in the touch tank, including the anemones and hermit crabs and some weird fancy shrimp and a fish. And then the fish bit me, whereupon I looked for the identification cards so I could find out what the hell had just bitten me, whereupon I read on the backs of all the cards, save for the sea cucumbers and urchins and sea stars: "Please do not touch this animal."
Note: if you are an aquarium and you have a touch tank and you put things in the touch tank, EXPECT THOSE THINGS TO GET TOUCHED.
Denver was incredible. The last time I'd been there was ages ago when I was a little kid, so I didn't remember anything about anywhere. Downtown was fantastic– the hipster congregation in the Tattered Cover bookstore  (where TheNoah managed to rescue me from this crazy creepy guy even though TheNoah was in Oakland at the time), the snob appeal of Larimer Square, the fact that there is nothing writer-ish (or squarish, for that matter) whatsoever about Writer's Square, the grandeur of the Performing Arts Center, the bear outside of the convention center, the gondolas that go up and down Cherry Creek… and everything was walkable! My first night there, I met up with (the one, the only) Devin Reams, who generously gave me a thorough wandering tour of downtown Denver, and I think we covered 2-3 miles easily.
The funny thing about downtown Denver was how much it reminded me of downtown D.C. No "instant home" feeling, but I was certainly very pleased to be there. I think I just like walking cities.
This is no proper way to end a post, but for lack of a better wrap-up, my favorite quote from the weekend in L.A., when a group of us was having dinner at a Thai restaurant:
"That's not a drunken noodle, that's a shitfaced noodle."
I am nothing if not an exemplary citizen of class.
 Fact: during the time when TheNoah and I thought we would move into the City together, one of the things I took into consideration while looking through apartment listings was how close the place was to Ike's.
 Interesting story: I visited Denver multiple times as a kid, but the only lasting memories I have of those trips that aren't based purely on photographic documentation are a trip to the Museum of Natural History and Science and a trip to some bookstore that had massive bookshelves on a staircase landing and green carpet (and where this book was purchased for me as a gift). Upon arrival into downtown Denver, I went looking for a place with wi-fi so I could work and ended up, upon Devin's recommendation, heading into TC. Where I eventually found myself marveling at the staircase. Which had a landing. On which there were bookcases, massive and wooden. And, oh, the carpet is green. A quick phone call to my mother confirmed that this was indeed the bookstore of my memory– craziness, no?