For the first time, I had to use my “teacher voice” on The Electrician this week. This is the voice that strikes terror into the heart of teenagers, the voice that means, don’t you mess with me, kid. It’s a tone I reserve for the most serious situations, and unfortunately, The Electrician was directly in the line of fire on Wednesday. People who have experienced my “teacher voice” are struck by its difference from my normal voice, which is a blend of cartoon character and stripy forest chipmunk; I gets people’s attention and generally secures their compliance.
On our unplanned trip to Kamloops, The Electrician and I stayed at Sun Peaks, which turned out to be a stunning mistake. We stayed in a very swanky hotel in a valley formed by several lushly forested mountains that operates as a ski resort in the winter. It was not what I expected, considering that Kamloops itself is rather dry and scrubby, and the hills are like something out of a dessert movie. Cue the tumbleweed style.
In the summer, one of the ski lifts runs people who want to hike to a high point on a beautiful mountain. It also hauls crazy, muddy people, and their crazy, muddy bicycles up, since much of the mountain is groomed as a downhill biking course with dozens of runs in the summer. The Electrician and I decided to go for a hike on the mountain, and the views were utterly spectacular and punctuated by wildflowers.
The “teacher voice” came out rather unexpectedly while The Electrician and I were walking a trail along the top of a plushy mountain meadow. Our goal was a carved bench next to a sign that waited to educate us about the valley. A cool breeze swept down from the mountain top, and The Electrician and I strolled happily, my little hand in his big hand with the half-missing thumbnail. It was idyllic. It was romantic.
Suddenly, I spotted a hulking form less than 50 metres from us. A big black bear was rooting for something yummy under a rock, her shaggy hair flowing in the wind and glossy in the sun. For a moment, I was jealous that her coiffure was so gorgeous in the mountain wind while mine grew more frizzy and tangled by the minute. The Electrician still hadn’t spotted her when I realized a black bear within sneaker throwing distance might be hazardous to our health.
“Electrician, come!” I directed, in fifth gear teacher voice, tugging his hand in the opposite direction. He stopped, and I couldn’t tell if he was startled by suddenly seeing the bear himself or if he was startled by my teacher voice. I think it was option two, because I had never, ever used that voice on him before. Either way, we strolled back in the direction of our arrival, trying to remain calm. I hoped my armpits didn’t smell delicious to a black bear, because I was sweaty from the hike and I sure her nostrils caught me.
The Electrician understands, I think, why kids listen to me at school even though so many are much bigger and scarier than me. I’ve promised to save my “teacher voice” for only the direst of scenarios so I don’t scare him again.
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