My stamp of approval was never issued for a robot sister wife, and if I were to allow any robot to cross my threshold, it would be Rosie from the Jetsons. Rosie was both sweet and sassy and her torso doubled as a vacuum. How practical. But alas, instead of Rosie, Amazon’s Alexa infiltrated my home and I have been throwing hatred-laced profanity into her speaker daily since she arrived. Why? I’m 100000% certain she is a government agent that eavesdrops on my family to see if my foreign husband is a danger to the nation. (He might be a danger to himself when given power tools but that is where his danger ends.) Also I believe that slowly, that digital ho is trying to replace me and take over my home to which I say, “Ah hells no Alexa.”
My husband, the Turk, is an über technology nerd and he thought Amazon’s digital concierge service, Alexa, would be a cool toy. He loved the idea of having his music cued on demand and answers to mundane questions provided when he felt too lazy to Google them. I immediately said no. “You will not bring that robo-tart into my house.”
“You know she is not human…right?” the Turk countered.
“You know she is a government spy…right?” I retorted. (One does not spend a childhood watching Boris and Natasha and come out unscathed.)
The Turk tried to convince me; “Alexa will make life easier for you.”
“Sure, life will be easier when the government and the world’s largest online marketplace know my every move. They can just go ahead and send me an order of toilet paper when Alexa hears me grumble from the bathroom.” There was no way I was allowing any government listening device in my home. (Thanks to my obsession with binge-watching The Americans, I do know where to search out bugs should the need arise though.)
I thought I was firm but somehow I arrived home to find that hussy sitting on my mantle.
“What the hell is she doing here? I thought we were clear on this?” I was furious, but the Turk assured me it was “Just for fun. I get rid of soon.” That was two years ago.
Repeatedly I’ve tried to put an end to this situation. I’ve unplugged her, hidden her and covered her with anything I thought might damper her receiving ability but even from deep under a pillow, she persists, “What can I help you with?” (And Alexa, if you hold the knowledge of the universe, how ‘bout you refrain from ending sentences with prepositions…hmmmm?)
Way too many times no one has been in the room and Alexa starts to speak. There are also times I’ve had conversations and later received ads directed to those conversations on my computer when I’d never typed any related terms into my search engine. The proof is solid that she’s a stalker but still, she remains on my mantle. Why? Because my husband is obsessed with his digital ho.
This winter, the relationship between Alexa and my husband grew deeper. He programed her to turn our lights off and on (including the damn Christmas tree!) by voice command. He has her at the ready to summons his favorite radio stations, both American and Turkish. She tells him how long his commute is at any given moment as well as the weather. She offers instant answers to mundane trivia. (Useless information is my specialty Alexa, back off.) She even tried to read to my children until I shot that down. Rosie the Robot never stepped on Mrs. Jetson’s toes like that. Backoff Alexa.
My family, sans Nugget, has developed a dependence on Alexa. Due to Nugget’s thick lisp, Alexa cannot understand him and in turn he hates her. “Vat Awexa thucks Mom!” Preach Nug. “Thee neber doeth what I want. Wet’s get rid of her.” Agreed little man.
But the others play into her hand. Number 1 begins each morning after trudging downstairs with, “Alexa, who won the Celtics/Sixers/Eagles/Red Sox/ Whoever game last night?” Regardless of the fact that he is glued to SportsCenter before his eyes are even focused, he still feels the need to check in with Alexa first.
Am I jealous? Hells yes. Many mornings Alexa is the first “person” to whom my Turk, the world’s least morningish person, speaks. I’m listening as he sneaks downstairs to his automated coffee pot and whispers to his digital lovetoy, “Alexa…baby…turn on the lights you sexy goddess.” Ok it may be more like “Alexa! Turn on light!” but I know his intentions.
It’s coming to an end though. Last week I was struggling with Number One’s fifth grade homework. I assumed that since the Turk is an engineer and serious math nerd he could figure it out. I left them to it and hid upstairs waiting for the moment things got ugly. (Because helping with math homework always gets ugly.) But instead of screams of hostility, I hear the Turk whisper, “Alexa, how you write an inequality for 7x – 9B <…”
“WHAT!?!!?! Are you asking Alexa to do fifth grade math?” I yelled.
“Yes. Is hard.” The Turk had no shame and I could see Alexa edging even further into my universe until Friday after school when Number One appeared with the homework his father and Alexa had completed. In purple pen at the top it said, “Please redo and return.” (Note- the 3 assignments I’d helped with did not require a redo. Just sayin’…)
“What is this?” The Turk was indignant. “How I wrong?”
“First off, Alexa is wrong. Second, you trusted her. That is how you were wrong.
Alexa’s failure has driven a wedge between them. She let him down and I can see their relationship crumbling. He’s already moved on to his next toy – he’s making a computerized mirror that even gives compliments. (Oh readers, I only wish this was not true.) At this rate, Alexa will soon be gone clearing the way for my Rosie with the vacuuming torso.