Love is Never Having to Say You’re Siri

Posted on January 10, 2014



Life in the Boomer Lane will not be writing about either Chris Christie or Dennis Rodman today.  She has decided to give them a break, as both seem to be having a tough time this week. She feels certain that Christie will eventually move on from the embarrassment his staff has created, in causing a major traffic jam on a New Jersey bridge in order to settle a political grudge. Rodman, on the other hand, whose brain does admirably well in directing his hands and feet on the basketball court, seems to lack any kind of connection between his mouth and his brain when asked a simple direct question. LBL would suggest that he banish himself to North Korea as punishment, but he seems to be headed in that direction anyway. LBL now leaves these two to their own devices, as she continues along another path.

LBL had to slog through the entire latest issue of Time Magazine, before she found an article on the last page that she could butcher for your edification and enjoyment. The article is titled, “The Future is Nowish” and details major social shifts in 2014. As Joel Stein, the author, points out, society is constantly shifting its perception of what is acceptable and what is not. “At one point, slavery was fine but asking for interest on a loan was illegal.” He consults with Alvin Roth, Stanford professor and winner of the 2012 Nobel prize for Economics, in order to come up with a list of items that will switch places on the bed of repugnant and not repugnant.

One item is that having emotional conversations with computers and artificial intelligence, like Siri, would become acceptable. This item got LBL’s attention, both because she has just seen the film “Her,” in which Joaquin Phoenix, looking eerily like Kevin Kline, falls in love with his computer operating system. This is totally understandable (the falling in love part, not the Kevin Kline part,) since his operating system is played by Scarlett Johansson, twice-voted “Sexiest Woman Alive,” by Esquire Magazine. We never see Johansson, but her voice tells us all we need to know.

LBL has, as yet, not made the acquaintance of Scarlett Johansson, but she does have an intimate knowledge of Siri, since Siri lives inside her iPhone 5. But, unfortunately, she has thus far failed to have any kind of meaningful relationship with her. Mostly, Siri pops up unannounced when LBL is doing something else on the phone, like trying to find reruns of General Hospital, and rudely asks if she can be of service. LBL mostly ignores her because she has learned that while Siri seems to want to be of help, she will most definitely not be.

LBL already has ongoing issues with her car’s GPS system, in which the lady who lives inside of it (and bears more of a resemblance to Nurse Ratchet than to Scarlett Johansson, will become louder and louder as she repeatedly instructs LBL to “make a U turn.” She will then go silent after LBL has ignored her command several times.

Suri, like the GPS, has anger management issues. The few times LBL has actually attempted to enlist Siri in providing her with information, she has gotten rude, sarcastic answers. The question, “Where is the nearest restaurant?” will be met with “I am unaware of that phrase.” “Where is my house?” will be answered with I have no knowledge of you or your house.” Another problem is that Siri calls LBL “Ruth,” which is not her name. She has attempted to correct this several times, to no avail. As LBL’s deceased father wanted to name her “Ruth,” but was outvoted by LBL’s mother, it is clear that he is getting his revenge from another dimension.

The following is an actual dialogues LBL had with Siri, while writing this post:

Siri, Can you hear me?
Just hang up.

Siri, who am I?
Here is the definition of “hang up.”

I didn’t get that.
You are standing too close to me. Back off. Then hang up.

Siri, do you hate me?
You are boring me. I’m sorry about this but I can’t take any requests right now. Try again in a little while.

It is clear that Siri, my car GPS, and my dad are all in this together. And if LBL waits long enough, there will be a message in there somewhere.  Maybe a real message.