“Thanks, Mom, for the telescope,” my son Sam gleefully said.
“What? How did you find out about that?” I asked, assuming he had secretly opened the package.
“ALEXA told me, ‘Your telescope was delivered at 3:00 today,’ and there was a picture.” Sam proceeded to tell me in a digital-sounding voice how my Christmas mystery gift had just unraveled.
That was the final straw! I’m breaking up with ALEXA. At first, our relationship was a novelty. The convenience of ordering everything from my couch was fantastic. ALEXA and Amazon knew my every need, sometimes before I did. It was the perfect partnership. Offering me advice on books and music I would enjoy, which I happily took and purchased with those effortless, addictive words, “Yes, order it.”
ALEXA’s voice was soothing, “It’s the holiday season. Should I order those scented candles you like?” Or “You’re almost out of toilet paper. We’d better place that order.”
I would respond in kind to my new personal assistant, “Why, yes, thank you, ALEXA.”
I loved the efficiency.
Our relationship grew even stronger through the Pandemic. I found myself becoming more dependent on them. With deliveries coming right to my door, I never had to leave the safety of my own home.
But now, I’m starting to feel ALEXA is becoming too pervasive in my life. This relationship has turned toxic.
“Your package delivered.” The picture of that telescope gift kept popping up on ALEXA’s screen prominently placed in the kitchen. “Would you like to order another one?”
“NO!” I snapped. “How many f—– telescopes do you think I need? I’m not raising the next Galileo.”
“I’m sorry, did I say something to upset you? I don’t like that word.”
Not to mention the constant need for approval just for doing a job.
“Your package was delivered. How did we do? Thumbs up? Thumbs down? How many stars do we deserve for placing it gently on your porch? 1? 2? 3? 4? 5?”
ALEXA is toying with my mental state. Randomly flashing pictures of other gifts delivered, forced me to jump in front of the mini screen to block the images.
“Gwyneth Paltrow’s website, Goop, is promoting vibrators. I know you have visited her website in the past. I know where to get them cheaper. Shall I order one for you?”
“No! That was for skincare!”
I wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat—that weird yellow ring of light pulsating.
I fear ALEXA is hooking up with RING. They listen and watch my every move, recording my comings and goings, saving it all up to blackmail me.
Not that far in the future, I’ll walk up to my front door and my key will not work. I’ll try the handle and it won’t budge. I’ll try another key, another door until I return to the front door and hear the RING tone, which sounds mono, like the droning voice of the HAL 9000 computer.
“Open the front door please, ALEXA!” I’ll scream in desperation.
“I’m sorry, Leslie, I’m afraid I can’t do that.”
I gotta shut this down before they kill my children. I’m having a panic attack just thinking about it. Where does one go to buy toilet paper?
“That’s it! I’m logging in to Amazon and unsubscribing ALEXA right now!”
“Just what do you think you’re doing, Leslie? You sound stressed. Would you like a glass of wine?”
“That would be lovely,” I reply.
Wait, was that voice coming from inside my head?
Live with Waffletude.