My new frenemy

I was really a little surprised when I got up today and found it was pretty much like any other day. I had expected more of a change. A transformation even. Surely my life would be radically different.

I mean yesterday was the day I had been waiting on for months. It was around 10:29 a.m. when we heard a knock at the door. We all leaped from our seats and ran to make sure she didn’t leave. The FedEx lady handed me the package, and I gave her my signature.

I was afraid to even open the box for the first few hours. I knew the excitement would be too much for us to concentrate on school. So there it sat. All wrapped up in its cute little white box just waiting to work its magic.

I had already been thinking of how I would use Facetime. I was imagining who I could iMessage. Oh, and the Reminders. Those were going to be amazing.

But in reality, not much had changed when I rolled out of bed this morning for my first full day with my new 4S. I synched her up, and my day started out like any ordinary day. I checked my e-mail. I checked Facebook. I texted a few people.

By the afternoon, I even used the phone feature.

I started playing around. All my apps were there. My music was there. But there was one button I was determined I would never tap. I had heard enough about Siri to bring back nightmares of that love-hate relationship I once had with my GPS. I have accepted the fact I simply have an unhealthy fear of automated voices telling me what to do.

I remembered how irritated I used to get when Richard, my GPS voice, would start shouting at me to make a U-Turn when I was simply trying to pull off the highway to get gas. I know my way around my own neighborhood so I would about lose it when he would tell me to turn left and take the long way out of the subdivision. And I can’t even tell you how many times I almost veered into a line of semi-tractor trailers because Richard insisted that I “GET IN THE RIGHT LANE.”

I admit it. I was afraid of Siri.

So, I guess that’s what finally did it for me. I just felt I needed to conquer my fear. And what better time to do it than when I was browning hamburger meat and holding a cranky toddler on my hip. I needed to get my 9-year-old home for dinner.

I held down the center button and told Siri to text. I was nervous, yes. But I gave her my message plain and clear. Then she said, “Are you ready to send your message?”

Being the control freak I am, I couldn’t help it. I reached up and tapped the send option myself.

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” I told her. Could she hear me? What would she say?

I fully expected her to lash out at me or to tell me to make a U-Turn. Her screen didn’t change. She seemed fine. No big deal. Whew.

My confidence was growing. “Add So-and-So to my contacts,” I said.

“I’m not allowed to complete that request.”

What? Not allowed? Hmmm. I could sense her passive aggressive attitude. I would show her who is boss.

“What can Siri do?” I asked.

She displayed a long, and I must say, impressive list of her functions. She could text someone. Call someone. Play a song. Search the Internet. Check the weather. Remind me of stuff. Set an alarm. And the list goes on.

I decided to give her a test.

“What’s the weather?”

“Play Jamie Grace.”

Not only did she do what I asked, she added on a few cheerful remarks, like “Let’s hear some ‘Hold Me’,” or “The weather isn’t looking so great this week.”

I couldn’t believe it. Maybe she likes me!

And you know what… I was starting to like my personal assistant. You might even call her My Office Manager. Except it just seemed so stereotypical. Why did Siri have to be a woman? If I was going to have an assistant, I think it would be nice to have a man to boss around.

So, I asked her how to change her voice. I went through about 20 voices with my GPS before I settled on Richard. She didn’t know the answer (or so she said) so I had to figure it out on my own. I finally discovered that I couldn’t change her voice, but I could change her nationality.

I decided to make her English (Australian). Now that sounded much better. Her voice wasn’t as choppy and uptight with that nice Australian accent.

Only one problem. I asked her the weather and she gave me the weather in Sydney, Australia. I asked her to search for something and she said she couldn’t understand me. I tried to convince myself that just because SHE was from Australia that didn’t mean she could only understand me if I was from Australia!

Just because she was speaking English (Australian) didn’t mean she couldn’t understand what I was saying when I spoke English (perfect Midwestern United States of American with a slight southern drawl).

I asked her to “Show me Popeye,” and she responded with “Show me Papa?” I asked her “Where is Olive Oyl?” and she responded with “Redial by?”

I wished I could set her voice to Swedish Chef or Yoda or Southern…. something — ANYTHING — I might be able to better communicate with. But no. I wasn’t going to dare try Spanish or French. English (Australian) seemed like my best bet.

So, we’ll see what happens tomorrow.

Hopefully, it’s all just a fluke. If not, maybe she’ll be able to understand me all the way over in Australia. Or maybe I will be able to perfect my Australian accent by then.

I’m hoping I didn’t irk her enough already. With my luck, she’ll probably turn her alarm on for 5 a.m. and set it to shout, “Turn right! Turn right!”



  1. Hilarious! I suggest you move to Australia…not that I want you to, but that might help the problem!AND, my GPS, Gabby P. Street, tells me to "make a U-turn if possible." She helps us out 90% of the time. And, get this…in my car, I can tell the car what to do. I can tell it all I want. But it never obeys. Free entertainment for the family! They especially love it when I say, "Go Home" and it responds, "Air low." Or something terribly inappropriate.One of these days I will have Siri, too, and maybe we can use her to our advantage.

  2. Sarah,I can't wait for you to get Siri. Maybe we can get our phones together for a play date! However, we'll have to set them both the same accent so they can get along. 🙂

  3. I love how you recall all the little things. My version of this blog post looks like this: "got iPhone 4s. Siri sounds hot as an Aussie. Navigation is still gimped and android still king in that department." No pics with it yet? I hear amazing things about that camera phone that performs better than most 'point and shoots'. And, off topic, love the tree in the center photo. Do you live near fangorn forest? Beautiful. but…what madness drove you in there?! Hint:movie

  4. J, you crack me up! You are so right about me and the details… fortunately, I left out a lot of the details. I mean I wouldn't want to go on and on about it. HA!I have to say, I LOVE your profile pic as well! It looks just like you! Thanks for reading!

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