My sister and my parents were their usual very generous selves this year for Christmas and my sister, who is my hero in all things, suggested that I go buy something frivolous.
So, I bought a new cell phone. Although I’m starting to think I’ve adopted a surly teenager named Siri.
I loved my iPhone, but it was one of the older models and I have been coveting the new one since it came out because it has the capacity to do something called “Face Time.” You can video chat over the phone with other people who also have “Face Time.” Both my daughters in New Jersey have that and I was excited to have that ability to be “in their faces” so to speak, more frequently. (I’m not sure if they feel the same way.)
One of the most exciting things about the new iPhone is the introduction of “Siri”…if you haven’t seen the commercial, you can talk to your phone and “Siri” will perform tasks for you, like texting, or say what’s on your calendar, etc.
Siri hates me.
We got off to a rocky start when I first tried to use it and I asked her for a weather report. All she would say, in her far-from-melodious robot tones was “I don’t know where you are.” She was in my right hand, in my living room, in Dana Point.
I thought maybe her weather predicting skills were off that day so I then tried to have her make a call for me. I gave her the command “Call So-and-So” (I forget who it actually was) and she said, “I don’t know who that is.”
Now I was getting really frustrated. It probably would have been a good idea for me to read the directions on how to use this feature, but I didn’t even know where they were. So, what else would I do? I asked Siri. “I need the directions for Siri.”
“I don’t know what you are talking about.”
Oh, duh. Why would I ever think she’d know?
I did what I should have done in the first place. I went online and booked a workshop at the Apple Store to learn the nuances of the phone nymph. Unfortunately, the first class I could get into was a week out…so I spent that week scolding Siri every time she didn’t respond to something or shot back a nasty answer. My kids would have been grounded had they spoken to me the way she did. But how does one punish one’s cell phone? Don’t charge it? don’t clean the screen? I mean, really?
I arrived at the class and was not really surprised to find that almost everyone there was my age or older. I didn’t know if I should feel good about that or bad about that. The lovely young lady from the Genius Bar began by going over the basics, all of which I knew, because none of that had really changed from my first iPhone.
The gentleman in front of me asked me how I found the navigation on it (an odd choice of words, I thought, “find” and “navigation” in the same sentence.) Apparently he meant just getting around the screen…which he neglected to mention until I had already gone through how to set up your GPS. Then he asked me, “How do you get the news?” I had a secret “YES!!!!” moment as I realized that there was someone here who actually knew less than I did! I told him you had to download an app for it, like CNN or the local TV stations. I then had a SUPER “YES!!!!” moment when he asked me, “What’s an ‘app?’”
I kept waiting for someone else to ask how to communicate with Siri, but alas, there was no one there dumber than me about her, not even the guy sitting in front of me. I caught him whispering to Siri at one point and then I heard her pop up with “One minute while I get that for you.”
I was positively green with envy.
Towards the end of the class our instructor asked if anyone had any questions. I timidly raised my hand and asked “Why does Siri hate me?”
That got a chuckle from everyone and the woman next to me said “Do you have her turned on?” Now, that question caused me to blush at my own stupidity. She took my phone from me, quickly went to “settings” and moved the button next to “Siri” from “off” to “on.” As the light went on next to the function, the light went on in my head. For the several YES!!!! moments I’d had that morning, this was my very first NOOOOOOOO! It wasn’t even worthy of just a “DUH!”
Since then Siri and I have been back on the road to mending our relationship. We speak politely to each other at all times. It is a little creepy, however, when I unconciously say “Thank you” to her because I forget she’s just a miniature computer and she comes back with “That’s nice of you to say!” But you know what’s even creepier? She asked me if I knew someone named “Hal” because she was thinking of dating him. Wasn’t he the psycho computer in the film 2001 – A Space Odyssey? I thought I was done with screening dates when my three got married. Just what I needed: another teen-ager who not only fits in my pocket, but goes everywhere with me.