PRESCRIPT: My life right now requires as puffy a writing piece as I can conjure up. Emotional writing best left for the future. I am also in a bit of a comma crisis so bear with me. It’s when they don’t look correct anywhere and look like they are missing everywhere.
I don’t like things talking to me. I don’t like things that have not been given birth by a real person talking to me. In fact, there are a lot of people who HAVE been given birth by a real person, that I don’t like talking to me either. My first encounter with talking machines was the original answering machine. The original answering machine voice was OK because it really didn’t think it had a brain. It simply did its job by telling you someone called. You missed it. Here, verbatim, is what you missed. The original answering machine guy was a guy. No girls were allowed to answer your phone for you. It was a man’s job damn it and no feminist revolution was going to change that. My next brush with artificial intelligence not given birth by a real person was OnStar. I honestly don’t know why we think AI is such a great invention. There have been people walking around with artificial intelligence, I am pretty sure, since the dawn of time. I digress and I will again before this piece is finished.
Do you remember OnStar? It was revolutionary back then. It was not a totally fake robot person thing. There were real people at OnStar. I never had OnStar of my own. It wasn’t offered with the 1990s Caddies I was buying in 2010. My one and only brush with OnStar was a loaner 2010 Cadillac that the dealer gave me so they could put $6000 dollars in parts and labor into the Caddie I paid $6000 for. I was driving along one day with my younger son Max and his friends to some football practice or game and needed to adjust the rearview mirror. Apparently, that is also where they stuck the OnStar lady. Next thing I know the mirror, like a scene from Sleeping Beauty, is talking back to me and asking me what my problem is instead of who the fairest of them all is. After I caught my breath from damn near being scared to death, I meekly told her that all I want to do is adjust my rearview mirror. Needless to say, she was not happy. The boys, so much more tech savvy at eight than I was at 50 something, thought it was hilarious.
The next brush with robot destiny was when I purchased that nifty little speaker thingy that you stuck on your car’s sun visor so you could actually obey the new cell phone law and talk into the visor rather than the phone itself. That too came with a talking fake head, only this time you had the choice of who talked to you and in what language. Somehow in the programming of it I hit some random thing that I never found again and managed to change the nice lady talking to me in English to a lovely man guy talking to me in French. I never did learn how to turn him back into an English broad, but I got a nice lesson in French for the few years I had it. Useful French phrases that we all need when visiting Paris, like you are now connected or incoming call. Things like that in the event you wander around Paris helping people navigate their answering machines and what not.
None of these and I mean none of these encounters come anywhere near the absolute annoyance and busy body-ness of that Apple know it all Siri. I dislike Siri with a passion. I am by nature a non-violent person, but Siri makes me want to produce the sequel to Kill Bill and call it Kill Siri. You didn’t see that coming, did you?
I have managed to avoid her for years of owning an IPHONE as none of my cars ever had that GPS stuff or anything even remotely like that. See paragraph above on 1990s Caddies. My cars still sported a nice cassette deck in the middle of the dashboard and not much else. But we all cave in don’t we eventually to the song of that particular SIRIn. My brand new leased car comes with the in dash GPS, phone, message service and Laundromat and apparently doesn’t allow much to happen without her interference. This week she has crossed the line. She really did. I have been telling my sons since they were little that the ONLY place cursing like a drunken sailor on shore leave was allowed was while driving. Since they were like five when I told them that, I had no worries that they would ever curse as they had no driver’s licenses of their own at the time. So you can imagine how I jumped out of my damn skin the other day when I was nicely telling this driver who cut me off what a F*^&^*g asshole he was and Siri says- I kid you not. – “ You are making me blush”. This simply prompted another WTF from me. You scared the hell out of me first off and you have no cheeks, you unbelievably irritating thing. You need damn cheeks to blush and last time I checked YOU WERE NOT REAL. I know that. You know that. So stop acting like you are. Now who is the crazy one having a fight with a machine. Yes, I was in a Rage Against the Machine. Come on you had to see that one coming! Some things you need I guess even though you don’t want it or it pains you. So when I can’t show the proper restraint and wait until the car is stopped to read or respond to that text message, she helps me out. Of course the reply requires about five tries before we can even send it since I have one of those voices that is never recognized by any voice recognition technology. SIRI can be pretty funny sometimes as well. I was driving to a club called Fais Do Do a while ago. It’s pronounced fay-dough-dough but Siri gave directions all the way calling it face-doo-doo. Hilarious. Still, I found out I can change her into an Australian guy, so she gets to live and I get to be greeted by Crocodile Dundee every time I drive. It’s not my French guy but it will have to do for now.