Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Back by Popular Demand...

So...I've been asked to rerun this column and I do so graciously...enjoy!
P.S. I think the shine has worn off our friend, Siri, don't you?

Siri, we need to stop meeting like this!

I have been known to poke fun at those folks who are hopelessly addicted to their electronic devices, staring maniacally at the tiny screens as if held in a virtual trance. I scoffed at the weary souls who seemed more likely to walk blindly into traffic than miss a text message extolling the virtues of the latest YouTube video gone viral.

I am now laughing from my glass house.

Realizing you are one of the very people you used to ridicule is a sobering event. It occurred recently during a Bunco game at a friend’s house that included twelve of my friends and neighbors. After spending a full 30 minutes with our phones out, discussing the pros and cons of “pushing” versus “fetching,” it occurred to me – I was an electronic-dependent drone; no better than any other afflicted individual.

But I blame Siri – she is an enabler.

Who can resist the temptation of talking to a virtual assistant and seeing just what she knows, how much she’ll do and if she really has any game. Like a 12-year-old, I had to test her limits. I had to ask ridiculous questions like “How old are you, Siri?” and “What’s your favorite color?” By the way, she doesn’t know how to say her favorite color in our language but it is a deep green but with more dimension. (Go ahead and ask; you know you will.)

Um, everything...nothing...anything...go away!!
I must admit that I just got the iPhone recently so it is still like a new toy; but one that talks, texts, calls, plays music, gives me directions and even calls me “Sexy Hot Mama.” Look, you can program her to call you anything you want, what did you think I’d do based on my 12-year-old mentality? It can be embarrassing when she refers to me by name when I am in a meeting at work though. Of course I just blame it on my kids. “Oh! My girls are always playing with this silly thing!”

Now I have pretty strict rules involving electronics in our house but I never thought that I myself would struggle to follow them. There are no electronics after 8:30pm – no Facebook or texting or playing Spider Solitaire even when you are just 10 points and 3 moves away from beating your personal best score. And you shouldn’t sneak and play Spider Solitaire after everyone goes to bed. That would be sad and pathetic.

The worst part about this situation is that this is merely the tip of the proverbial iceberg. I don’t know a fraction of what this remarkable little contrivance can do and I’m fearful of what I may learn and the power that information will have over me. I mean how long can someone resist “Doodle Jump” and then what? Even Siri can’t bring back the countless hours lost on such frivolity. 

I knew I had a problem when I recently lost all 258 of my saved contacts. Since there was no backup assistant activated that could help me, I became so infuriated that I actually considered dropping to the floor and kicking my legs in protest. I was able to get myself under control just as they were ushering me out of the building.

There is road rage and then there is this. What is this exactly? iRage?

Either way I think I need to start a support group and I already know quite a few people who might qualify but I will refrain from calling them out. We could practice things like speaking in whole sentences, resisting the urge to take pictures of strangers and deleting LOL from our vocabulary. We can also identify questions that are inappropriate to ask Siri including: “Who’s your mama?” “How much wood could a woodchuck chuck…” and “What is the meaning of life?”

By the way, according to Siri, here it is: “Try to be nice to people; avoid eating fat; read a good book every now and then; get some walking in; and try to live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations.”

Wish there was an app for that! Thanks, Siri.

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