I stopped in a local Starbucks this afternoon for a hot drink.  I ordered my usual soy mocha and a pastry.  The barista looked at me sympathetically and said, “I had what you have a few weeks ago, it was terrible.”

I paused a moment and realized what she meant.  “I’m not sick; I always sound like this,” I replied.

She reached under the counter and pulled out a packet of green tea and slid it across the counter to me.  “Take this.  It’s great for your throat and it’s caffeine free.”

“No, really, this is my regular voice, I feel fine.” I was starting to feel like the not dead guy in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

She insisted.  I relented.  I put the teabag in my pocket.

I suppose it was nice to get some personal attention and unwarranted sympathy from a stranger, and it’s rare you get anything for free at a coffee place, especially the chains.  But wasn’t the presumption of illness a little offputting?  Like that most horrible of faux pas, commenting on the pregnancy of a woman who’s not pregnant.  I’ve been told never to comment on a pregnancy unless (a) the woman herself brings it up or (b) you can see the baby’s head.

I’m not really offended, but it does make me wonder if I really sound that bad.  Here’s a recording of a webinar I did not too long ago.  You can judge for yourself.

As for the teabag, I fobbed it off on professor M, who isn’t sick either.