(This memory came to me after reading Stacey’s slice about her son and Siri.)
He is maybe three when he discovers that the phone will converse with him. “Hey, Siri!” he says, and she always responds. Within minutes, they are best friends. She will answer any question, entertain any flight of fancy. “Would you like me to call you Alien?” she asks, and I swear her electronic voice sounds dubious. “Yes!” he agrees enthusiastically, so she does. (For years, my phone will continue to call my husband “Alien” because I can’t bring myself to change it.)
Phone in hand, Eric wanders away, chatting enthusiastically with the only one who is paying him any attention at all. We adults are in the other room, reminiscing about old times. The older kids are running about, screeching. The house is full: at least one dog, a cat, siblings, aunts, uncles, friends, grandparents. And it’s noisy – so noisy that no one really hears a three-year-old having a chat with his new electronic best friend. In fact, none of us really even know where he is until we decide to go out on the pontoon boat. “Have you seen Eric?” we ask. No. No. No. No one knows where he is.
Andre heads towards the back of the house, searching. As he passes through the living room, he hears an argument behind the couch. It sounds as though Siri is telling Eric he is being unreasonable. Just as Andre starts to chuckle, Siri stops playing around: “Ok,” she says, still with that dubious tone, “Dialing Emergency in three… two… one…” Andre lunges for the phone, but Siri is already dialing, and Andre manages to hang up just as the call goes through.
Disaster averted, Andre begins to talk to Eric when the phone rings. It’s the emergency operator who informs this flustered father holding an unhappy toddler that she is supposed to send help to the address of the phone call if the call is terminated. Andre explains. He explains about Siri, about the crowd, the noise, the child. It’s early days with Siri, but the operator understands. She does not send an emergency vehicle. We scoop Eric up, change him into a swim diaper and whisk him away to the boat. He barely notices that his friend is gone.
To this day, Siri is disabled on my phone.