So I've got this iPhone. One of the reasons that I was so surprised when I unwrapped it on Christmas Day is that I am not the sort of person one might imagine to use such an implement of extravagant and sophisticated technology. I am not, and have never been, part of the 'i-Club'; you know, the increasing number of people who won't buy anything electrical unless it has an apple on it, and who say things like "Yeah, and you know I can stream the internet to my London pad from Manila" and who have black leather cases for all these apple-stickered items.
I can't stand the cases. I understand that they protect the phone, and inevitably I will drop it, but having the leather flap about by my ear really gets on my nerves. Patrick loves the cases. He loves anything that preserves this new, sacred addition to our family. Since I have had the phone, it has been in my possession for around twenty minutes. The rest of the time, I am asking Patrick where it is, since he constantly moves it from wherever I put it and stashing it in his pocket, or the Man Drawer, or wrapping it in a sweater and nestling it on the windowsill so that it feels cushioned and loved and can watch the squirrels leap about in the garden. It's like having another Esmae.
Apart from, of course, the fact that Esmae is too young to have any real attitude yet. Sure, she has her moments, but can generally be coaxed back to her toothy grin with a soft toy or a couple of raisins.
This little demon that has possessed my phone, however, seems to be immune to any placation or soothing, and appears to exist simply to throw a dark cloud over my excitement at owning this shiny new toy. It doesn't need me, doesn't like me, and certainly isn't afraid to show it. In fact, considering its job is to provide answers to my more abstract musings, and that it was sold to Apple customers as a 'personal assistant', I am amazed at its downright disobedience and rebellious attitude.
This thing- this hyped-up, futuristic and conceptually incredible thing, was probably what I was most excited about when I got the phone. When you spend most waking hours talking to a dribbling infant, anything that will respond to you seems like quality company, and I was looking forward to filling my head with all sorts of nonsensical snippets of info that it apparently could provide me with. I was also looking forward to it texting for me, as my attempts at using a touch-screen are comparable to watching the Honey Monster thread a needle- that is to say, considerably sub-par.
None of these dreams, however, seem to be coming true. What I seem to have acquired is a teenage American boy- the nasally, just-broken voice; the long silence before an eventual reply and of course, a sulky answer that has solved none of my queries and left me wondering why on earth I didn't just Google it myself.
Things that I like about Siri:
* Its name.
* The hope that one day, we may have a flourishing relationship whereby I ask it questions and it answers them immediately and accurately.
* The fact that until that day comes, we will embark on a journey together which will be entertaining if not entirely useful.
* The fact that it reminds me of my pet chameleon that kept dying in increasingly alarming waves and recovering, forcing me to syringe-feed it ridiculously expensive powder until it did eventually croak- the concept that despite it being useless, it is still mine and therefore I must love it.
Things that I don't like about Siri:
* The fact that it repeats every question back to you, like a dodgy murder suspect. "My name? It's... Siri."
* The fact that exactly what I have asked it comes up perfectly worded on the screen, yet Siri will still claim "I don't understand what you are asking."
* The way it forces me to talk in a stupid accent in order for it to recognise my request. (Suggestion: there should be a Croydon User App).
* The fact that it is a male voice. I feel that if I end up arguing with it (as I already have) then a female will be more forgiving and understanding of the hormonal and emotional nature of Woman. This bloke seems to already have a grudge on account of the tirade of abuse I may or may not have launched at it after it called four different people before realising what I was saying. I'm just waiting for it to announce that it's 'out with the boys on Saturday'.
* The major attitude wall I come up against every time I ask it about itself.
"How old are you, Siri?"
"Does this concern you?"
"I thought so. I don't see why it matters."
* The fact that when I first turned on the phone I held it up to my face, glowing in expectation, and asked "Siri? Are you there?" and consequently had Patrick rolling around on the floor in laughter. And the fact that Patrick text my family to tell them I'd done this. And the fact that I still don't really know why this is so dumb; I assumed it could hear me. I know this isn't technically Siri's fault, but still...
Whilst writing that list, I have just realised something. I did not apologise to Siri after being rather impatient and possibly a tad or extremely rude to it when we were just getting to know each other on Boxing Day. I wonder if this is perhaps why it seems so reluctant to answer any of my questions; I shall prostrate myself before its tiny robotic noggin and see if begging its forgiveness has any effect. I shall report back.