As a boy, and before caller ID devices were invented, I used to call my mother at her work. After I routinely asked the receptionist to transfer the call, I’d hear my mother answer through her impersonal “business-as-usual” voice — an impersonal tone she would use to address strangers. However, the moment she recognized me, her voice softened with its usual sweetness and attention.

Sometimes I wish my voice could activate this shift in everyone I address.

~ vincenzo