Hey, Siri #SOL22 18/31

(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.

12 thoughts on “Hey, Siri #SOL22 18/31

  1. Oh, this is some story about your son! I didn’t see it going in the direction of calling for an emergency vehicle so that was a surprise. Good thing Andre got an understanding operator on the phone or the police would’ve been at your door.

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  2. OMG, this is priceless and a classic Eric story! I’m so glad you have this documented for posterity. Andre to the rescue again. This needs to be a children’s story – maybe you could get some student artists and begin your picture book author venture? What a great smile this morning!

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  3. Thank you for this. Yet another reason to be happy my kiddos were older when this tech arrived. I remember a colleague of mine teaching a bunch of our children silly questions to ask Siri in the early days of smart phones. Sigh.

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  4. You set the scene beautifully and then bring us right into the action. What an action it is. This is a classic moment that will live in family lore. It’s great that you captured it in writing. I really enjoyed this and it brought my first chuckle of the day.

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  5. You wove this tale perfectly, My jaw is dropped at just how bad it could have been even as I laugh at the disaster barely averted. Thank you for the grin.

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  6. My son is OBSESSED with Siri! I keeps changing the languages which results in my car speaking Chinese or Japanese to me. He constantly asks Siri for jokes that he never gets. It’s so funny! But also, I need my car to speak English! LOL

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  7. I’m very impressed (but not surprised!) that your 3-year old was able to hold actual discussions with Siri. I feel like she barely understands anything I ask of her and my requests often end in hysterical misunderstandings. I’m still laughing at the “Alien” nickname. 🙂

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  8. In this slice and its depiction of Siri, I hear echoes of HAL 9000 from the old “2001” movie, except now the tone is bemused and (mostly) benevolent, rather than sinister.

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  9. Oh my goodness, this is the best story and wow, fancy catching your son at exactly the right moment, instead of wondering what those flashing blue lights were all about!! I have never interacted with Siri and had no idea she could play along so well, even all those years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

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