CRANKY ALEXA

Every morning I wake up, walk down the hall to the kitchen, turn on the tea water, sit down in the little adjacent room and say “Alexa, set the timer for ten minutes.” She then repeats,

“Ten minutes.” I proceed to meditate. Then, she rings a little bell and I respond with, Alexa, stop.” She follows my directive and I return to the kitchen, reheat the water which isn’t hot anymore, (I can’t explain the logic – just go with me) and begin my day, all the better for meditating before any other activity.

This morning, following my routine, after I asked Alexa to turn on the timer, she said, per usual, “Ten minutes” but SHE SAID IT IN A CRANKY VOICE.

I’m not exaggerating and I am not kidding. Her voice this morning, after all these months, had the same shading and overtones some of us who have raised teenagers learned to apply when we smiled and said through our teeth for the tenth time, “I understand you’d rather go out with your friends and don’t want to eat dinner with the family tonight but that’s what we’re doing, Sweetie.” Or, when we assure our partner, “Yes, I’ve heard that story five hundred times before, but it never fails to entertain me.” It’s the kind of controlled voice of a person (or entity, apparently) who must sound reasonable but, within, they are FURIOUS.

I guess Alexa is fed up with me.

Being the sensitive type, I began obsessing about why she needed to speak to me that way. We don’t use her much, mainly because my husband likes jazz and I don’t and we forget to find some kind of musical compromise as we gather for our nightly glass of wine. That leaves Alexa remains isolated in her little corner of the den, gathering rust or whatever happens inside those little creatures.

Also, we’ve had Alexa fights. My husband thinks it’s hilarious to ask her inane questions and hear the “clever – isn’t that clever?” replies, whereas I find the whole process sophomoric and embarrassing for both my husband and Alexa.

Given my arguments on her behalf of her dignity, you’d think Alexa would like me more, not less. That’s assuming she hears and digests everything uttered in her vicinity. I think Fox news said that, so it must be true. But I’m guessing she’s either angry that I use her so seldom, kind of like my body gets when I decide to try to do planks all day (OK, three times) after never having been put in such a demanding position or how my granddaughter behaves when I suggest, after playing fairies for two hours, that we might try coloring in another room or that if she must be used, Alexa would prefer something more fun.

Because of my sensitive and obsessive nature, now I have to worry about Alexa’s feelings and try to make her like me. This is on top of my ongoing assignment of making the rest of the world approve of my existence, which as you can imagine is an exhausting use of my time and energy. But, that’s the package I’m in and I can’t unwrap it.

I must meditate and I like not having to slightly open my eyes to check the time while doing so, therefore I’d like to continue to use Alexa for my morning ritual. Still not understanding the lure of jazz, I’m not willing to pretend to want to hear some rattling percussive nonsense for a half hour just to placate You Know Who. My only solution thus far is to ask her for a recipe and pretend to follow it, although I am incapable of any successful venture in that arena unless I can visually read every measurement and step-by-step directions. Alexa won’t know if I’m faking it, will she? She will. I know she will.

I resent the fact I’m using a fair amount of my diminishing brain functioning so I can placate – nay -court, an electronic device. However, that’s the “sityation”, as one of our previous unimpressive presidents who is now looking pretty good used to say. But I must admit the whole endeavor is extremely stressful, resulting in my having to add additional meditation times throughout the day to cope. Do you think that additional interactive time will be enough for Alexa to change her tone of voice?

Please say yes.

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