Daily Archives: January 4, 2013

The Voice of the Future

As you also may know if you’re a long time reader, I have a hard time with technology.  Particularly if it talks.  I wrote about it here:  I can’t get no.  You have no doubt heard me screaming from wherever it is you are, when I am asked the same question for the 128th time by the same incredibly patient voice on the other end of the phone.   If I could get a hold of the person behind the voice, I would slap her silly.  Because those auto-answering voices used by every single company I need to call — they make me crazy.

So naturally, I had to dig myself in deeper.

Yup, recently I got an iPhone4S, with Suri.  And within days, I wanted to strangle her, too.  Suri makes me crazy, and only partly because her voice is the same one as the voice prompt I named Sybil in I can’t get no.  (They are obviously psychotic twins.)  I gave Suri several chances to help me and to help herself in the process, but she always lets me down.  Once, I was trying to demonstrate to my boss how she can find a phone number for you and dial it:

“Suri, call home,” I commanded.

“You have 16 homes.”

Shit.  So much for my raise.

Another time, I tried all day to get her help with finding a nearby restaurant when we were on vacation.  I gave up in frustration, and in complete exasperation I said to Siri:

“Oh Fuck Off!”

She finally gave me a reasonable answer:

“What did I do to deserve that?” she said.


But actually, it isn’t only voice-activated prompts that make me nuts.  Real live people do, too.  Especially if they have an accents.   I cannot emphasize enough just how convenient this difficulty was when I lived in another country where they spoke a language that required the use of an accent.

Still, probably the most difficult accent for me is a Scottish one, which is quite frustrating.  You see, they speak English.  Sort of.

Actually, Scotland is near and dear to my heart.  John went to University there, and we have many friends in and around Edinburgh from those days.  Best of all, John asked me to marry him overlooking Edinburgh Castle at sunset after we hiked up the Salisbury Crags.  (See why I married him?)

Edinburgh Castle4

How could I say anything but yes?

Salisbury Crags

(Both Google Images)

But in lots trips to Scotland over the years, umpteen phone calls and reciprocal visits to us, I continue to have trouble understanding our friends. It’s the accent.

I canna understand it.

At first, I thought it was just the heavy Scottish Brogue and that my ear would get attuned to it.  Nope.  Not all of our friends have a brogue as few are completely Scottish.  Some actually hail from Northern Ireland, another was raised for 10 years in Czechoslovakia before moving to Scotland.  Others are English.  Some of our friends are even mutts and we don’t talk about them much.  We really only have two friends who are authentically Scottish.  It’s a motley crew.  No matter.  They are all wonderful, fun, and we have a blast when we visit or when they come here.

Or at least I think we do.  You see, since I have such a hard time understanding them, I never know what anyone is talking about or what I’m agreeing to.  Nevertheless, I agree to whatever I am asked.  I swear, their accents are thick as mud.  Thicker, even.  And they’re all professional people, doctors, dentists, executives and school teachers.  So my way is easier.  What sort of trouble could they get me into?  Besides, I’m pretty sure I’ve responded appropriately when spoken to over the years.  If not, I am hoping that when they laugh at me, that they think kindly of poor John’s wife, that agreeable deaf woman.

But somehow, I expect to have the last laugh.


Filed under Family, Gizmos, Humor, Mental Health, Stupidity