True stories with a twist!


Picture this: an old fashioned gentleman who opens doors for women and pulls out their chairs for them. If he’s with a woman at a restaurant he waits for her to order first. When going through an entrance he gestures for her to go ahead of him.

He’s a man who would tip his hat to women passing by if he were born a few years earlier. That’s what gentlemen do; that’s the way they behave; it’s been drummed into their minds since childhood and is as automatic as a Y-Generation guy giving a fist bump to a buddy.

Such a gentleman is my husband, Harvey.

When his first cell phone would no longer take a battery charge and finally quit after giving years of service, he went shopping to buy a replacement. A phone; nothing fancy, no hip hop tunes for ring tones, interactive calendars or internet shenanigans; just an ordinary cell phone that receives and delivers telephone calls.

But he met a salesman who showed him the amazing advances since the eons of five years when he bought the the first one.

Apple computer’s voiced computerized fact finder, Siri, finally sold him on the I Phone with its bells, whistles and personal assistant inside the phone. Harvey was entering the world of 21st century technology.

As he started calling upon Siri to do her chores the dialogue became unexpectedly funny to me and frustrating to him. Here is the dialogue of his first attempts at communicating with Siri.

“Siri,” he started, politely addressing her by her proper name, “Do you happen to have any current information about the traffic situation in the Lincoln Tunnel from New Jersey to New York?”

Click. Siri had hung up.

“That’s too many words,” I explained. “She has a short memory span. Pare your question down to, “Traffic in the Lincoln Tunnel?”

“Siri, Please tell me about the traffic in the Lincoln Tunnel, if you don’t mind.”

Click. Siri had hung up again.

“You are talking to a computer; not a cute young secretary. Stop wasting words with polite talk.”

“Alright, Siri, I’m asking you nicely. What are traffic conditions in the Lincoln Tunnel this morning?”

“Directions from Trenton,” she offered. At least she didn’t hang up this time, although her response was totally irrelevant to his question.

Siri, he was beginning to think, was no lady!

So I doubt whether he would open a door or pull out a chair for Siri if the occasion arose. Now if only he would  stop saying “Please and Thank You.” His mother would be so disappointed in his newly acquired speaking style, being asked to un-remember the polite childhood lessons of always saying “please and thank you.”

But his mother never spoke to a computer either.

Meshing Harvey’s world with Siri’s and learning each other’s ways of communicating is still a long work in progress.

Comments on: "A GENTLEMAN MEETS SIRI" (39)

  1. My youngest daughter asked me recently what Siri looks like. I had to laugh at that one.

  2. Ronnie, this reminds me of trying to teach my gentle husband how to use keywords effectively. Yes, fewer are better, and shorter is sweeter, in this case!

  3. Your hubby is my twin brother! I’ve given up on Suri because I’m much too verbose. I haven’t gotten a coherent answere from that b____ Suri since I got the phone. Whatever! 🙂

  4. Too funny! Makes you wonder about the impact technology could be having on social niceties, doesn’t it!

  5. haha…nice post

  6. It’s a pared-down world, Ronnie. Get to the basics and do it quick. Siri might be great in a pinch, but s/he would not be my ideal sidekick.

    Your Harvey’s a keeper. Tell him to hang in there.

    • I was very excited when the voice activated feature was announced. Now that I have the iPhone I must admit that I never think to call upon Siri.

      I’ll just stay with Harvey; I agree that he’s a keeper!

  7. That is quite funny in a sad way for your husband, it virtually is telling him that his manners are no longer needed in such a pronounced way.
    Dump the phone and stick with your husband.
    Emu aka Ian

  8. Those computerized “helpers” can infuriate even the gentlest soul.

  9. Snoring Dog Studio said:

    I turned Siri off. She has a way of intruding that is so not helpful. And she can be quite dismissive of a person’s feeble attempt to communicate. I’d rather talk to myself.

  10. Haha. With the craze for gadgets with the latest technology, I often ask myself what would happen if I should wake up in the 1800s. Harvey is definitely Mr. Polite.

  11. rhema3one7 said:

    He’s such a gentleman to take repeated and patient trials 🙂

  12. Some of my guy friends are “in love” with Siri. Just like they are with the GPS navigation voice.

  13. That is true, instead of our always having to be so precise with terminology.

  14. Lisa Honecker said:



  15. I have managed to avoid the newer cell phones by always having to have a rugged and water proof phone… this has made life so easy, no strings and bells, just a call answer and call send.. my newest one now has a camera, that I don’t know how to use.. and probably never will… but I like to think that as your Husband is am I.. a gentleman brought up so by my Father.. I still get funny looks when I hold a door open for a woman.. I think see feels she needs to tip me…

  16. I’d take Harvey over Siri anytime!

  17. Love it! i have to bypass all this modern communications stuff or I’d have a nervous breakdown with frustration and an inferiority complex

  18. Oh, for more old-fashioned gentlemen like Harvey! Hope he can withstand the lessons of Siri for quite a while.

  19. Yes, some of the replies from Siri are quite amazing…an interesting experience without a doubt!
    Hope the weather’s warmer at your end now, Ronnie.. 🙂

  20. Funny! The GPS folks could learn a few manners too.

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