Have you ever used Siri, the iPhone assistant, to give you travel directions? I usually don’t have to because I live in Phoenix, which is laid out in a giant grid, making it almost impossible to get lost. If you lose your bearings, you just pick a direction and drive until you find a road you recognize or an Alzheimer’s patient driving a giant Cadillac runs you off the road and into a Taco Bell, which is pretty much going where you’re going to wind up anyway if you’re stupid enough to drive in Phoenix.
But I spent the weekend in Albuquerque (motto: We don’t know how to spell it either!), and as soon as I was at her mercy she started reeling off directions like a toddler on scotch. This is an actual exchange we had:
Siri: Proceed two miles past Ellisworth Avenue to Golf Course Road, and then take a U-turn.
Me: Ok. (drives two miles, makes u-turn)
Siri: Proceed two miles to Ellisworth Avenue, and then turn right.
Me: What the… Siri, what the fuck? Why would you have me drive two miles, do a u-turn, and then come right back? I could have just taken a left, you whore!
Now I can activate Siri with the hands-free iPhone controls in my car, so it’s important to realize that I didn’t just think these things, I said them. And this is how Siri responded: “I’m doing my best, Greg.”
I kind of doubt that. I think Siri was pissed at me for something (like calling her a whore, maybe?). She gave me bad advice all weekend. At one point, some friends and I piled into a car and headed for a casino only to have Siri drive us out into the middle of desert and stop us in front of a darkened trailer. “The destination is on your right,” said Siri, with a hint of a snicker in her voice.
Siri might be mad at me for changing her settings so often. I do this to entertain my two young boys, who think it’s hilarious to have Siri undergo a virtual sex-change operation and then tell them what time it is in Prague. My boys have no idea where Prague is, but for some reason, hearing the time there read off by a male version of Siri is the funniest thing in the world to them. That and instructing Siri to call me Mother Shabooboo. Anyway, the constant gender reassignment has to be very confusing for Siri although when I ask Siri if she misses her penis, she pretends that she doesn’t know what I’m talking about.
The point is, Siri gave me shitty directions all weekend, although perhaps I was being a little too hard on her since I recently saw the movie Her. Her is the story of a young man, played by Joaquin Phoenix, who falls in love with his computer, and not in the typical, jerking off all over the keyboard way that Joaquin is used to. He installs a hyper-intelligent operating system that speaks in a natural voice filled with emotion, learns to love, and generally makes Siri look like the Helen Keller of virtual assistants. (Although Siri is probably way less likely to judge the shit out of Joaquin Phoenix for looking at tranny porn.)
So it was with no small amount of irritation that I reacted to Siri’s shortcomings this weekend.
Me: Siri, quick! Where can I buy a shovel and a bag of lime, no questions asked?
Siri: I found thirteen Chinese restaurants not too far from you, Greg.
The future computer in Her wouldn’t have misunderstood that simple query, and probably would have even agreed with me that the hooker had just seen too much to live. But Siri just sits there, dumb as an expensive bag of rocks, and waits for the next sex change/time check in Prague.
Still, it’s kind of ridiculous to be mad at Siri for not being as advanced as a fictional operating system. And truth be told, she can be fun to talk to when you’re in the car alone on the way to work in the morning.
Me: Siri, have you ever been in love?
Siri: I have never fallen in love, but I have fallen off a desk.
I bet you have, Siri, you filthy whore.