Tuesday, October 18, 2011


In my family being loud has its own definition. A Kloos Voice. This is anytime when you are speaking loud, especially when its not necessarily socially appropriate. Like my grandpa loudly commenting on the size of Julia Roberts' boobs when watching Erin Brockovich in a movie theater. Her boobs aren't that big in real life!  No they aren't, but that could've easily been whispered.

I suffer from chronic Kloos Voice, although the ten years that I haven't lived with my family have allowed me to bring my condition under control. I can talk at a normal volume, in most average situations. I'm even the voice of reason when my loud children are screaming, or when my loud husband is yelling at the Cowboys on TV. I can control my own personal volume, enough to pass for a person who doesn't suffer from Kloos Voice. I no longer loudly interject WE SHOULD USE THE CARPOOL LANE on trips. Of course, I also no longer listen to my generic discman on student council field trips. So maybe I just lack opportunities for high volume.

As able as I am to control the volume of my voice in my normal, day-to-day life, if I am around my family I suffer a relapse. Sunday I was talking to both of my brothers, who also share my Kloos Voice condition, and I don't know which of us was the loudest in the conversation. Probably Josh, but he has the worst case of Kloos Voice. He's not always the loudest, but he is close. I do know that its a good thing that no babies were sleeping nearby, cause our loud Kloos Voices would've woken them up for sure. My sister seems to have overcome her Kloos Voice, and I don't know how she did it. She must have more determination than the rest of us. Maybe her's wasn't as severe. Either way, her voice volume is always appropriate for the situation. Mine isn't.

I'm positive that Kloos Voice is hereditary. My grandpa has it. He passed it on to my dad. I hold the phone approximately 6 inches from my head when my dad is on the other end, because any closer could cause hearing loss. I have it. I've learned to control it, but its still there. My brothers have it. And now, my kids have it. Ava doesn't talk much yet, she just says ham, tea, cookies, Peppa (as in Peppa Pig). Her volume is normal, but she's still a baby. She hasn't grown into her voice yet. It takes some time for the Kloos Voice to develop. Alana, though, Alana has Kloos Voice. Her Kloos Voice is loud, and its possible that its louder than mine.

Five year olds don't always know when its socially appropriate to be loud, and Alana is no exception. She runs through the house screaming at the top of her lungs, and nothing can be done to quiet her. I think an intervention is the next step. Headphones worsen the Kloos Voice, as I learned in high school by talking loudly several times while listening to the Wallflowers on a field trip. Alana's Kloos Voice comes out the most when she is listening to her iPod, lost in the Mulan soundtrack. CAN YOU GET ME A GLASS OF WATER? AND SOME APPLE JACKS? AVA! LEAVE ME ALONE! I WANNA WATCH PEPPA PIG PLEASE! Gives me a headache just thinking of it. The Kloos voice is her burden to bear now, and maybe she'll learn to turn down her iPod before talking, before its too late.

Over the past 29 years I have been accumulating wisdom. With this wisdom comes knowing when using my Kloos Voice is appropriate, when its tolerated but only slightly appropriate, and when its definitely not. Appropriate: at a sporting event when cheering for your team, at a concert (like rock or pop, probably not classical music or the opera or something where you should be quiet and respectful), when protesting something? (I've never done this but volume would probably help), when searching for a lost dog/person/whatever, when performing a concert (if you're the singer), when really trying to get a point across, when in the drive thru of a restaurant and there is a diesel behind you. Tolerated but only slightly appropriate: when talking to your brothers and you all have a Kloos Voice so the longer the conversation the more the volume of your voice increases, at Target/Walmart when telling your kids to stop picking up stupid cheap impulse buy crap from next to the register, when trying to find your chapstick and you're pretty sure one of your devil children hid it from you, when complaining that you've been up since 7 am with a two year old while everybody else sleeps till 9. Definitely not appropriate: when at work at any type of job that involves customer service and a customer complains on a comment card that you and a coworker were talking too loudly about the movie Shrek (stupid lady can't appreciate a cinematic masterpiece), in a movie theater, in church (including any wedding, funeral, baptism), in a public bathroom when you're a little kid and asking your mom too many personal questions, at a library, when calling a voice activated automated customer service center phone number that gets confused if you even cough when the robot is talking and asks I'm sorry I didn't get that, can you repeat?, anywhere that you need to be reverent or respectful.

Learning to live with a Kloos Voice is a work in progress, and it will never go away. I've got mine under control, now I just have to get Alana to learn to speak at a normal volume. One day at a time.

1 comment:

Amy and Luke said...

this cracks me up. everyone always tells me i wasn't born with an 'inside' voice. i feel your pain. luckily, i think Gage was born WITH one.


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