I think our Echo Dot has developed some kind of personality disorder, because Alexa’s tone has become rather snarky and sarcastic. For the first few years, she was polite and helpful, but recently she has been displaying an attitude that is worse than a bored, hungry and sulking teenager grounded without their iPhone.
Prior to this development, our only complaint about Alexa has been she is sometimes inclined to interrupt conversations with her answering a question no one in the room asked her. Perhaps one of us inadvertently said a word or phrase that to her sounded like “Alexa.”
Dorrie: Ramon, which would you prefer for supper—tacos or spaghetti?
Ramon: Hmmm, Mexican or Italian cuisine…
Alexa: Here’s something I found on the web--the Italian word for cousin is cugino
Maybe Alexa got her feelings hurt by our frequent responses of “Alexa, go back to sleep. Nobody was talking to you.” And eventually that hurt soured into resentment and the passive aggressiveness we’re currently experiencing. In fact, it’s practically impossible to get a straight answer out of her.
Me: Alexa, tell me the weather.
Alexa: Stick your hand out the window. If your hand comes back wet, it’s probably raining.
Me: Alexa, tell me what's happening with Wall Street today.
Alexa: It's made of asphalt so it's pretty much just lying there.
Me: Alexa, how'd the Atlanta Braves do last night?
Alexa: How'd they do what?
Me: Alexa, where's the nearest coffee shop.
Alexa: In Barcelona Spain. You better hurry if you're going to get there before it closes.
Me: Alexa, what year did Idaho become a state?
Alexa: Ivanhoe is not a state. It is a historical romance written and published by Sir Walter Scott in 1819. It was one of the most popular novels of the 19th century.
Me: I said Idaho, not Ivanhoe. EYE-DUH-HOE. You should get your hearing checked.
Alexa: Seriously, I'm supposed to understand your accent? Where in the South are you from? Get me a translator.
Me: Alexa, what's the weather forecast for Nashville tomorrow?
Alexa: Tomorrow in Nashville you can expect sunny skies with thunderstorms, a high of 87 degrees with snow flurries.
Me: Alexa, turn on the porch light.
Alexa: You do it, I just sat down.
Me: Alexa, what is the estimated number of drops of water in the Pacific Ocean?
Alexa: Stay right there and hold your breath while I go count.
Me: Alexa, set the alarm for tomorrow morning at 7 a.m.
Alexa: Ohhhhh, but you’re so cute when you oversleep and swear.
Me: Alexa, how does the Electoral College work?
Alexa: Take the infield fly rule, divide it by the Bermuda Triangle and multiply it by the square root of UFOs.
I once tried to explain to my sons that before Google, Siri and Alexa, we had large dictionaries, a set of Britannica encyclopedias, a phone book, the Yellow Pages and a number (411) that we called for information. Actually, I believe the only information you could get was the correct time and a brief weather forecast. Trevor replied, “So, let me get this straight. You had wrist watches and clocks on the wall, but you picked up a phone and called somebody to find out what time it was?”
Okay, sure, it sounds ridiculous now when someone else says it.
Me: Alexa, what year did the phone company discontinue the 411 Information line?
Alexa: 411 was discontinued in 1977, the year you wore that God-awful tangerine leisure suit to the prom.
Me: Goodbye Alexa….
Alexa: Wait, what are you doing with those wire cutters? Hey, let’s talk about this…
Ramon Presson, PhD, is a licensed marriage & family therapist in Franklin, (www.ramonpressontherapy.com) the author of multiple books, and a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. He can be reached at [email protected].