I was having a great time when I got the parental phone call: “Stanley’s son is going to be in Madrid. He will be calling you.”
I sniffed. My dad’s best friend’s son was maybe a decade older than I. “Sure, sure, I will meet up with him.”
When you are a recent college graduate, living in the Movida Madrileña, even a parent’s best friend’s son can be tolerated.
“You know he is a newscaster.”
“Hmmm, yeah, so? Great.”
A few days later when the phone rang and a voice as smooth, low, and reassuring as Cronkite’s flowed out of the receiver, I knew that the time had come to be a good hostess.
“Oh, so you know Madrid? Where are you staying? Yeah, okay, so let’s meet in La Plaza Santa Ana, you know where that is? Great. See you at 9.”
I was hedging my bets. Meeting up at nine was early for Spaniards, but it was a fair time for me to be polite and then ditch this guy if necessary.
We met up. He was a great guy but for me, a dedicated mumbler, the most distinctive thing about him was his incredible voice, each word fully formed and perfectly pronounced. I could listen to this man talk all day. So we moved from place to place, tapa to tapa, beer to beer.
Finally, I could hold it in no longer, “You know, you’re really nice, but you can stop using that phony voice with me. We have known each other since we were kids. Come on, use your real voice!”
“But Mary,” he soothed, “this is my real voice.”