Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Why nya non!

I was headed home afoot after taking care of errands in the downtown area of Portland. At busy W. Burnside and 19th, while waiting for the light to change so that I could cross, I was surprised by a "coo-coo" noise issuing from the pole nearby followed by a Buzz Lightyear voice uttering the phrase, "Why nya non!" followed by the coo-coo noise and a repetition of, "Why nya non!"

Bemusement sent me halfway across the intersection before I realized that the voice had been trying to say, "Walk sign on!" but had some sort of problem. Long ago, my younger sister owned a Chatty Cathy doll. With four older brothers in the house, let's just say that Chatty's life was not an easy one. She fared better than Raggedy Ann, who had been dismembered in a reenactment of a Spanish Inquisition torture chamber interrogation . . . but not by much.

Rough handling had distorted the normal functions of her voice box so that when her string was pulled, rather than hearing, "I love you!" or "Let's play!" something like "Frabbl tramus noon!" or "Zent grams!" was more likely to come out, phrases that might be understood on the Klingon world but not in your everyday American home. We found this hilarious.

It would have been interesting to skulk somewhere near the crossing and watch for peoples' reactions but I would probably have been disappointed. Portland had a naked bike ride last week and things like a bowling ball garden in SE are not uncommon sights. An uncommon sound, though - that's something new.

When I got home, I gave Lola a treat and intoned, in the Buzz Lightyear voice, "Why nya non!", driving her into a frenzy of excitement.


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