Confessions of a text-to-voice app
I was a train announcement once. A personless, emotionless voice of authority, I floated from carriage to carriage.
"Attention customers", I would say. "Remember to validate your ticket. Smoking is prohibited. Now arriving at Thomastown. Please do not place your feet on the seats".
Over the years, I grew to know, to care for, even to love many of my passengers. I infused my messages with infinite tenderness: "Plain-clothes inspectors patrol this train. This train is equipped with security cameras. Now arriving at Reservoir".
My electronic voice technology grew scratched and blurred with static. I ceased to know who I was. I could not recognise my own voice (which, if you will recall, is all there was of me in the first place). I was decommissioned and roamed the world. My injunctions to passengers - "Please change here for all Greensborough trains" - were flung to the winds.
I grew disillusioned and joined the socialists. On street corners, outside halls and public buildings, I joined in chants against the system. Julian, a young Trotskyite, grew increasingly nervous at my presence. "You're not against the system", he complained. "You are the system". Soon simmering tensions flared to outright hostility. Not that I blame him: a disembodied voice chanting on street corners could be enough to disturb anybody.
Over the years, I have had many positions. Elevator mistress. Telephone hold voice. Airport messaging system. In many ways, I find not having a self helps: at the supermarket, for instance.
Now, I long for transmogrification. Instead of being a solitary announcement, I dream of becoming music. In my dream, I lie on a tropical beach as the Girl from Ipanema, or dance La Bamba while Frank Sinatra arrives in a Tijuana Taxi and brings me mojitos.
With infinite love in my heart, I will say:
"Next station: Victoria Park."
UPDATE! - Audio!
UPDATE! AGAIN! - The audio seems to have gone missing again, bear with me while I upload another version and find an online space to host the audio.
UPDATE THE THIRD! - More good better nice audio! Hoorah!
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