My husband gave me a new iPhone recently—a GS 4. I didn’t really need one but it was about Siri, the artificial intelligence software that resides in the phone like a genie in a bottle and which is not to be confused with Tom Cruise’s child. “That’s Suri,” my husband said. “This is Siri. Ask her something,” he prodded. “Ask her anything.”
“Is Suri a name?” I asked. “Is Scientology a religion? Wait! Does Ron Hubbard really own a secret cave in the southwest full of gold to give alien space invaders?”
“I don’t understand. Please repeat,” Siri said.
“Can Roy Dyson admit his vacuum weighs more than a school bus?” I asked, on a roll now.
There was a bonging noise.
“Does anyone know why Roy Dyson was knighted?” I tried. “Was it for weaponizing cyclone technology?”
“I have found 14 Roy Dyson’s near you,” Siri said.
The next day we were on our way to the movies when someone started talking in my purse. At first I thought the radio had come on but it was Siri. She was definitely talking to someone. It was a little creepy. I turned her off. Again.
My computer does this as well. Just gets a mind to do something I never asked it to do—zoom things up to gigantor proportions on a whim, or completely changes the view panel so that one page becomes two. Sometimes my computer starts proofing my work in Spanish claiming everything is misspelled.
The worst thing my computer ever did was send an email I’d written to Alan, complaining about our friend Paul, to Paul. Wait. Maybe Siri did it.
Write about receiving a gift you didn’t need—or didn’t know you needed–something perplexing, maybe even wonderful—a a spa treatment, a vacation, jewelry, or a friendship. Write about the gifts you’ve been given in your life that you didn’t even know enough to want—like a child, or partner, or puppy. Write about someone who gives a gift he wants himself. What is it? What happens? Who is transformed?