Sitting on the steps of my office building, I try to emulate the sound of a cricket.
You know the sound I mean: Chirrup Chirrup.
My first instinct was to tongue the roof of my mouth while curling the air around my right cheek but that results in a sort of purr like a telephone dial tone.
Next I try rumbling some air through my flaccid lips. It is closer than what I had before but still not a cricket. This new noise is brutal like a road drill even when I do it really softly.
Thirdly I try the road drill again but with a bit of voice behind it. This is completely wrong. Now I sound like an hysterical space chicken.
I muse that maybe humans just can’t make the sound of a cricket. But they can. I’ve seen it done on TV.
For a while longer, in a light drizzle, I persist.
A colleague emerges from the building. She asks me what on Earth I am doing.
“Trying to emulate the sound of a cricket,” I say.
It occurs to me that this is the behaviour of a mad person. Making animal noises alone in the rain is exactly the sort of thing mad people do.
“Why?”, my colleague asks.
“Because I’ve lost my umbrella.”
She looks right through me. And with good reason. That really does sound mad.
But it’s the truth. To explain: I had tasted the pending rain on my tongue and realised that my umbrella was not in my hand where it should be. I couldn’t recall that it was in my office either. Where had I last seen it? Oh yes, in the pub last night leaning against some folded up chairs. As I pictured my umbrella, I imagined it sitting alone. The sound effect for something sitting alone and forgotten about, as any movie will show you, is the sound of a cricket chirupping in the background.
And that is why the loss of an umbrella had resulted in my trying to emulate a cricket.
Such a train of thought is called a Kangaroo Communique. I only learned the term last night.
My colleague put her umbrella up, Padoof-click, and continued on her way.
How do you make that noise?