Hey Siri

As we all know, technology can be the savior of our existence or the root of our eminent demise- it’s all about perspective. Perspective, like patience, is an elusive mistress in times of need. Ironically, if you didn’t need it, you wouldn’t care that you don’t have any. But I digress…

My good friend Jenny came over a week or so ago. We chatted like a couple of school girls while I “cooked” for my family. (As any self-respecting New Yorker will tell you, delivery is cooking). We opened a bottle of wine and laughed like besties while my Son was mindlessly engrossed in whatever shreaking pre-teen rip-off of Saving The Bell is popular this week. My Wife, gracious to let me play Mr. Mom was on her way home from the coal mine. For the moment, it was just my friend and I catching up and drinking too much. If you were a fly on the wall and didn’t know we were both happily married to other people- you might think I was gay and we were both in our twenties. Will and Grace – if Will was straight and Grace wasn’t a train wreck.

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Jenny’s phone started to die, so as she commented on her new iPhone 6, she grabbed a charging cable from the kitchen counter and plugged her phone in to the wall. My Son, oblivious to time, space and any conversation in the room or the world around him, pipes up as if no one else is in the room. On this particular occasion, he was shouting for the dog who was not even in the vicinity at the time.

“Hey Sammy!” he said, completely overpowering our conversation. “Come here.”

I snapped my fingers to get his attention. He’s a great kid that has me laughing often wondering why he had the misfortune of having me as a Father. Realizing his rudeness, he apologized and returned his attention to the TV, unaware that my ongoing Pavlovian finger snap experiment was paying off.

As Jenny and I returned to teenaging in adult chatter, I heard a voice in the distance.

“Do you hear that?”, I asked.

“Hear what?” She said. I asked my Son to pause the TV for a minute as we listened to the barely audible sound of a man’s voice shouting loudly in the distance.

“Who is that?” She asked looking around. The voice persisted and freaked us both out as it called her by name. We looked at each other immediately thinking the same thing.

“Isn’t that…?”

“My husband! Yes, but where in the hell…” We both looked around the room frantically.

“I’m on the damn phone!” The voice bellowed. It was her Husband, Steve.

She went over and picked up her cell phone to find her husband on the other end of the line. They volleyed back-and-forth insisting that the other had initiated the call. This went back and forth for a bit until he trumped her with “… but my phone rang.”

“Hard to argue with that”, I said. My very competitive friend glared at me like a dog who had stolen the ball from the middle of a tennis game.

I made some off color comment about Steve having the power to listen in whenever I was with his wife. We chatted for awhile before we hung up – cursed the telephony Gods – and moved on.

Moments later, the entire cycle repeated. My Son – again oblivious but apologetic – calls for the dog and Steve answers. He laughingly offered that I was such a “Techy” that I had learned to dial with my mind and my subconscious was protecting all of us from me being alone with his very attractive wife. No one argued the point.

She disconnected the speakerphone on the kitchen island between us. I glanced down as the word “HOME” was replaced by a picture of her family along with the time and date in that skinny font that Apple uses. I was fondly remembering the days I could read that font without glasses when it hit me. She has her home phone listed in her directory simply as “Home”. Why does this matter, you ask?

There is a little-known voice activated feature on an iPhone (IOS 8 only) that allows you to activate Siri without touching the phone, as long as it’s plugged in to a power source. Apparently “Sammy, come here” sounds like “Siri, call home” from across my kitchen.

Who knew.

As I tell my Son, ‘If you aren’t doing anything behind my back that you wouldn’t do in front of me, you won’t have to worry about me finding out!’. It only took me 40 some years to practice what I preach. Momma would be proud.

I share this story not simply for those who live the kind of single life I used to – before I met my wonderful Wife, (a beautiful woman with a great sense of humor), but as a cautionary tale. Even the simplest of technology has abilities that we may not be aware of. Take the time to learn how to make the tech work for you – or hire someone that can – don’t be a slave to it.

Technology is our friend, but a fickle one.

‘Course that’s just how I see the world. Your view may be different.

-B

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Hey Siri

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