True stories with a twist!

Posts tagged ‘cell phones’



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.


Unknown-3Look around you wherever you go. Where are they? What have they done with them? Why doesn’t anybody want you to know the time? Have you noticed that large clocks are no longer displayed anywhere? This is a conspiracy Why has time become the newest public secret? What level of security clearance must you have in order to be briefed on the time?

There are no clocks in banks. There are no clocks in warehouse stores. No clocks in coffee shops.

If you visit a hair salon to be clipped, dipped and snipped maybe they don’t want you to realize how much time  this “maintenance” is taking. Perhaps those with natural gray hair tied back in simple buns have longer life expectancies than women who color, style and blow dry their hair. How many hours are taken performing these rituals?  Salons don’t want to bring awareness to how much of clients’ lives are being spent trying to look younger as they age in stylists’ chairs. Solution: remove clocks from the walls.

Doctors’ offices do not display wall clocks. Are they trying to keep patients’ unaware of the time spent in waiting rooms reading old magazines with “newly released” gossip? Or do they not want patients to watch their lives ticking away?

Stores are equal opportunity deprivers of time data. Whether you’re browsing in a large department store or picking up a few necessities at a supermarket you cannot find a clock on any wall. Ignorance of time means an end to rushing, hurrying and leaving. Stores would like people to pick up a few more impulse buys in a leisurely way, so they provide “time ignorance.”

If we don’t know the time, will it disappear? Go away? Halt the aging process? If we have no clue about where the hands point are we dismissed from being on time?

Cell phones display the time, but if they’re buried in bottoms of cluttered handbags they take eons of time to locate and read.

Wrist watches are hidden under layers of sweaters, coats and gloves in winter and are too hot to wear in summer.

I’m going back to reading sundials images   and reading in nature’s way. So if you ask me what time it is, expect an answer like, “Three stars past the moon.”

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