I got caught doing the Morrissey voice today.
Talking like Morrissey, the celibate, vegetarian former lead singer of The Smiths, is something I have done since my freshman year at Cal, back in 1984. My good friend and associate Khurram told about a game that he and his friends would play involving sneaking up on an unaware friend, and then making the trademark warbling Morrissey vocalizing sound very close to their ears. (When I refer to the "Morrissey sound," think of the post-"I'm so sorry" wailing on "Suedehead" or the "ooh-ooh-ooh-oo-oo" at the end of the chorus of "Girlfriend in a Coma") Reactions to the Morrissey voice are mixed, but always entertaining. The Morrissey voice surprises, but the Morrissey voice also soothes.
Recently I was watching, with my peg-legged mother, an old Saturday Night Live rerun that had him as the musical guest, and proceeded to converse only in melancholy Morrissey-speak for the next hour or so (see "running the joke into the ground"). Since then, I will periodically slip into the Morrissey zone, usually while driving, singing tuneless songs about my day: "It's cold and my car is too slow/ So I merge to the right and I stall and I cry and I want to die."
So today, I was working at the museum on a slow, nearly-visitor-free day. I ended up in the empty employee restroom around 2:00 and unconsciously began exploiting the restroom acoustics to Morrisseize the day. When Dan from Exhibits walked in, I was looking in the mirror and warbling a variation of the Lawrence Hall of Science closing announcement: "If you'd like to make a purchase in the Discovery Corner gift and book store, you should do so now-ow." It's hard to make excuses for talking to yourself even when you're not using a high faux-British singing voice and vaguely approximating the melody of "The Boy With a Thorn In His Side."
Luckily, the general no-eye-contact, no-conversation, don't-look-sideways-at-the-urinal conventions of male restroom etiquette let me escape with no more than an awkward head nod and a face full of shame. And, secretly, a heart full of song.