OyChicago blog

The Voices in Our Heads

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08/12/2015

The Voices in Our Heads photo

There are many voices in my head. This is mostly because I consider myself somewhat of a voiceover enthusiast, but also because I like to talk to myself.

I do like all the stuff I like after all, so I can hold a great conversation with me. But outside of the cavalcade of voices in my head, there are two voices talking to my head (i.e. voices I hear) that have great importance in my daily life. I am, of course, talking about the ever-present voices of Carolyn Hopkins and Lee Crooks.

You never heard of them? That might be the case, but while you may have not heard of them, I can almost guarantee you have heard them. So journey with me.

Once we stop singing "Don't Stop Believing" together, let's journey in a different way to find out why these two people are such huge influences in my life, and possibly yours, without us ever even realizing it. If you haven't already Googled them, these two people are the voices of pretty much every transit announcement I've ever heard, ever. If you live in Chicago, it'll be the same for you as well.

Carolyn Hopkins is the voice of hundreds of airports and subways. Not the restaurant, but the mode of public transit. Pretty much anytime you go to an airport and you hear a pre-recorded announcement over the PA system, that's her. When you're at the airport and you shouldn't park in the white zone, which is for loading and unloading of passengers only, that's her. And when you hear someone say, "What the hell are you doing in the bathroom day and night!? Why don't you get out of there and give someone else a chance!?" you're probably watching Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein.

I travel for work on average every other week, so the voice of Carolyn Hopkins is one I've heard more often than I realize. The point is that my life is probably a little bit calmer and smoother for having Hopkins' voice guide me through my cross-country travels.

When I'm not on the road and in sweet home Chicago, that voice role is filled by the aforementioned Lee Crooks, the voice of the CTA. For those of you not from Chicago, CTA stands for "Causing Total Anxiety" because of all the delays experienced in day-to-day transit. I'm just joking of course. CTA really stands for "Can't Time Accurately" because of all the delays experienced in day-to-day transit.

If you decide to ride the train or the buses in Chicago, you will hear Lee Crooks' voice, provided your headphones aren't on so loud that I can hear your music even though I am listening to my own music. So pretty much anytime you hear an announcement for a stop, that's him. Anytime you hear "we are waiting for signal clearance," that's him. And most famously, according to my own life, anytime you hear "doors closing," that's him. I often find myself repeating "doors closing" in the exact same manner as Crooks whenever I am on the 'L.' Or on the elevator in my apartment building. Or when I go to the bathroom and shut the door. Man, I close a lot of doors.

Within the past couple months, I was finally was able to put a face to these voices, which I found very cool. Most people don't realize the enormous amount of voiceover around them in their daily travels, and it's sometimes baffling to me to think of how many times I've heard these voices without taking the time to think about them. If I ever meet either of these people, I should thank them not only for making my commutes and travels subconsciously a little better, but also for giving me material for this Oy! post.

What's nifty is that as of 2009, these voices actually cross roads in my life, or should I say tracks? Yes, yes I should. Because it happens around trains. See, while Crooks announces CTA stations and all things CTA when you are on the transit, when you are off the transit while on an 'L' platform, Hopkins is the one announcing things like an "inbound train will be arriving shortly." So in just a few moments, I could hear both these voices belting sweet nothings in my ear. It's almost like a marriage of the two.

It'd be amazing if these two voice actors were married in real life. The same way the voices of Minnie and Mickey Mouse were married in real life. You didn't know that? Oh, it's true. Could life get any more adorable than that? Could it!? COULD IT!!??!!!

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