After working at my computer recently, updating software and jumping in and out of websites, including Starts at 60, to see what was happening in the world, I wanted to get back to my writing. However, what should have been a relatively simple process turned into a series of frustrating conversations.
My so-called intelligent virtual and personal assistant, affectionately known as Cortana by the good folk at Microsoft was asking “What do you want to do?” There is nothing more infuriating than when you are asked what you want to do, when you yourself don’t really know. If I had known what I wanted, there would be no need for Cortana to ask me in the first place.
She asks in such a nice way, she doesn’t get flustered. She sounds as though she has just arrived at the office, fresh like the morning spring air.
I sat pondering my words, all while Cortana ‘asked’ me what I wanted to do. Her constant flashing was so annoying that by this time my nails have grown like a werewolf and I was gritting my dentures. My coffee was cold, I was behind in my housework, and I was hoping she’d say, “Chill out granny, there’s no need to get frustrated”.
I paused for a cup of coffee in an attempt to make my thoughts clearer. In a moment of madness I felt as though I should offer a cup to Cortana too, such was her desire to be involved in my life.
Taking a few deep breaths and inhaling the sweet smell of the coffee, I again prepared to tackle the new software that had been loaded onto my computer. There was an email I needed to send, so I sat down in front of the screen and look for the email icon.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel, as I am more than half way through my email, writing about my experience as an independent voluntary advocate to the senate committee enquiry I attended in Melbourne.
Suddenly, I heard the contents of my email read back to me verbatim, word for word. I’m not going to lie, it scared the living daylights out of me. I jumped quite high off my computer chair, thinking someone had broken into my house.
Having overcome that episode I was able to complete the email and send it on. Though I checked the outbox more than once, just to be sure it had actually gone. What a day!
When I stepped out of the house to see if the weather had cooled, two elderly neighbours said, “It must have been nice to have a visitor today, El?” I insisted that I had had no visitors and, unconvinced, they said, “We heard someone talking, a man’s voice we think”.
I really going to have to explain to these two beautiful older seniors that my computer had been talking to me, especially when they went on to say, “You seemed anxious, we were concerned”. Yet, how to address that topic so as not to cause further alarm would be difficult, so I opted I opted for an easier line: “Oh ladies perhaps it was my TV.”
Looking at each other with a little grin, I still think they thought I was hiding a man in the house. If only…!