Sunday, October 16, 2011


Yesterday we saw the tribute corner for Steve Jobs in the Apple Store on Boylston Street.

My husband found the written messages very moving, while I admired the stained-glass effect as light poured through the colored papers. I was unmoved — and I'm kind of a sap, usually. I wondered why people do it, since I've never had an impulse to leave notes or flowers at one of these temporary shrines. I guess it makes them feel better, or it validates their feelings, or it allows them to feel they're participating in the world community. So what's the deal with me?

Talking it over, I figured it out:  I have a blog. It's my universal stickie. I have little need to express myself elsewhere; in fact, when I'm with friends who know about my blog, I don't have to blather on about what I'm up to, which is ideal, because my spoken tales tend to be boring and repetitive (not all that different from my blog, really...). My friends are up-to-date on me, so I can sit back and catch up with them.

The other thing I realized is that I don't need to write messages to dead people. I'm updating the ones closest to me all the time. Sometimes — rarely, but just enough to freak me out a little — it doesn't feel like an entirely one-sided conversation.

We were at the Apple Store for tech support on my husband's day-old iPhone 4S. I'm looking forward to all the help he'll be getting from Siri, the talking "personal assistant" on the 4S. Currently, I'm his Siri, continually asked random questions that I need Google, a historian, a scientist, a meteorologist, and/or a lawyer to answer. I should be flattered to be considered the font of all knowledge but, actually, it gets old. Good luck with that, Siri.

So far, I've noticed that Siri's answers to his questions aren't all that different from mine. I'm overhearing robot-voiced responses like, "I don't have enough information to answer that question" and, "I have no opinion, I'm just a humble personal assistant." (That's robot talk for "I have NO idea what you're talking about.") Mostly, I'm hearing stunned, dead silence on Siri's side. I do that, too. He claims it's because Siri/the phone is not always connected to the Internet. Yeah, well... neither am I.

I'm looking forward to what will happen if he starts asking Siri to help him locate things around the apartment. My stock answer — if it's something that been in the same, very obvious place under his nose for at least several years — is, "Where it's always been." When the fallout from that settles, I give in and say helpfully: "Right next to your toothbrush, where it's been sitting in plain sight for 10 years."

I wonder if Siri is advanced enough to develop an attitude. When I get my own 4S, eventually, my first question to Siri will be: "Why were you named after Katie Holmes's kid?" Then  I'll work on getting my Siri to coach his Siri to say: "Where it's always been."

1 comment:

  1. PB: K.H's kid is Suri - but who cares. I need a Siri too. My standard joke answer to whatever the Mr. can't find is "behind the milk," since he never thinks to look there (or, anywhere, really). Why he thinks I know where his keys or his watch are is a constant, unanswerable mystery. If I had a sassy Siri to answer all those questions, I'd have tons of extra time. Which I clearly don't have enough of now.


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