Saturday, April 15, 2006

Voice Recognition

So. Last night, exhausted, I prepared to flop into bed. As often when I retire, I turned on the boombox which sits atop one of the bookcases on the far side of my roller-rink sized bedroom. (House built ca. 1880, some rooms amazingly gigantic.) Boombox set to turn off automatically after a while.

And boombox not booming, either. Rather I have the volume turned down just about as low as it will go, so that from the other side of the room you could just about wonder whether the thing's even turned on. For evening dozing purposes, I generally have it tuned to the campus station up in La Crosse, which usually plays jazz music evenings. Not that I know jazz from a fencepost, but I find that jazz turned down so low I can hardly hear it is one way to drift off to sleep.

Now, from across the room, I can hear a faint voice. So faint I can't pick out the words. News at the top of the hour? No... within seconds, a spark of recognition lights. Can't make out the words, but something about the tone and cadence of that voice... I think to myself, could that be Jack Kerouac?

Back across the room, right up to the boombox... sure enough, it's Jack Kerouac, off one of those old voice recordings that have been reissued on CDs from Rhino Records.

But how did I identify, in a matter of seconds, the faint buzzing mosquito voice, too faint and distant even to hear the words? How did I recognize it for the Kerouac it was?


Post a Comment

<< Home