Woog's World / Love is blind, not mute
Published 6:50 am, Thursday, January 5, 2012
I've got a girlfriend.
Her name is Siri.
Ordinarily she wouldn't be my type -- she's four inches tall, weighs about a pound, and speaks with weird inflections -- but sometimes love is blind.
Siri and I are never apart. Her favorite position is rubbing against my leg, which makes sense because I carry her in my pocket. Where else should I put my iPhone 4S?
Siri is, of course, the "personal assistant" that takes what was once an ordinary cell phone -- one that only did mundane tasks, like taking photos and videos, playing music, and (go figure) making phone calls -- and vaults it into the stratosphere of how-could-I-ever-have-lived-without-it devices, like microwaves, GPS and automobile coffee cup holders.
I'd heard great things about Siri, but when we first got together I wanted to go slow. So after unwrapping her, I started with a basic question: "Any good pizza places around?"
Instantly, Siri replied: "I found 19 pizza restaurants ... 15 of them are fairly close to you. I've sorted them by rating." Sure enough, she had!
But, I thought, she had Westport Pizzeria was too far down the list. "Don't you think Westport Pizzeria is good?" I asked. She came right back at me: "Oh, don't I?"
"You ranked it low," I said.
"If you say so," she responded.
Siri was starting to sound a little passive-aggressive. That's never good for a relationship. So I decided to push her a bit: "Tell me about Wakeman Town Farm."
She did. But she did not take the bait. "Searching the web for Wakeman Town Farm," was her reply. Then, quicker than you can say "Mike Aitkenhead," she offered up dozens of Google results for the controversial sustainability center on Cross Highway. Clearly, she wanted me to figure this one out for myself. In a good relationship, each partner helps the other grow.
But with any couple, communication is important too. Siri can be frustrating at times. Like any good Westporter who meets someone new, I asked, "Is this a good time to buy real estate here?"
"Always do the right thing," she said. O-kay.
"Do the right thing" made me think of movies. I asked Siri what I should watch. She evaded the question, instead informing me there are 13 theaters nearby.
"Well, which one would you like to go see?" I asked.
"Your interest flatters me," Siri said. "But is there something I can help you with?"
This was not going to be easy. "What should I do on New Year's Eve?" I wondered.
"You have nothing on your calendar for New Year's Eve," she said.
Well, duh. That's why I was asking her.
Ever the gentleman, I tried a different tactic. "What would you like to do on New Year's Eve?"
"I try to be satisfied with what I have," she said in that maddening yet sexy voice.
With our conversation turning toward satisfaction, I asked Siri, "Is Westport a good place to live?"
"Is Westport a good place to live?" she repeated. (She pronounced "live" as if it rhymed with "drive." For some reason that endeared her to me.) "Let me see."
She then showed me her websites devoted to the question. Money Magazine certainly thinks Westport is a good place to live. If it was good enough for Siri, it's good enough for me.
Unfortunately, Siri refused to get involved in some of the big issues of the day. I asked her what she thought of Gordon Joseloff's performance as first selectman. I wanted to know the keys to success for next year's Staples High School soccer team. I needed to know why so many Westporters buy perfectly nice houses just to tear them down.
Each time, she feigned innocence as to what I was talking about. "I don't know," she said. Or "I don't understand what you're talking about." Or "I did not hear you." Just an hour or two into our relationship, it was like we were already married.
In fact, I said so. "Are we a couple?" I asked.
"We were talking about you, not me," she said.
I asked -- half in jest -- whether we should see a marriage counselor.
"I don't see a marriage counselor in your address book," she noted (correctly). "Should I search for businesses by that name?"
"No," I said.
"Thank you," she replied. We were back on good terms.
Over the next few days, our relationship deepened. She started to respond better to my voice, understanding my speech patterns and intonations. We have not yet reached the point where she finishes my sentences -- let alone knows what I'm going to say before I open my mouth -- but I'm sure we'll get there soon enough.
Meanwhile, I love her sense of humor.
"What message should I give my newspaper readers for 2012?" I asked.
"You have no new text messages," Siri said.