I've never been one for talking to myself, and by turn, interacting with Apple's virtual personal assistant program has always been something I avoid. The few interactions I had with her were limited to the times when I was drunk and fumbling with my phone, and the dreaded black screen and morphing rainbow line at the bottom of my iPhone appeared, as white letters asked: "What can I help you with?" You have nothing for me, Siri. I hit the sleep button as fast as I could.
But starting at 21:00 last Friday, I decided to make an earnest attempt to do everything that Siri recommended for a full 24 hours. I first tested her with a few questions about whether or not I should start my regular routine of predrinking, which I asked in at least three different ways with replies to the tune of "I'm afraid I don't know what you should do" each time. Great. Not only was Siri boring, but at this point I'd become fed up with her voice since she was preventing me from getting wasted on a Friday night.
Racking my brain with how I could still manage to leave my apartment when I had to listen to Siri's advice, I went into the settings and changed her to be an Australian male because I figured he might more keen on helping me get lit (since Aussies know how to party). I would call him Jack—my best chance at having a proper party companion for the evening.
I got to the tough question first. "Siri, is cocaine bad?" After reading the intro to the first search result it pulled up—which was WebMD—I wasn't thoroughly convinced to say the least since the entire intro was more about pop-culture references, including a shout-out to Blow and the book Killing Pablo, than actual health risks. A crucial flaw in my experience with Siri was that it wouldn't allow me to change my search engine to anything other than Bing. It was problematic to say the least.
After inquiring about Jack's opinion on drug use, I asked if I should use Tinder, and he just pulled it right up. Staring back at me was a bro who had super-liked me (cringe) and was posing with a wholesome-looking blonde woman in three out of five of his photos. She appeared to be his girlfriend. I asked Jack if I should fuck this guy from Tinder, and he told me, "There's no need for that." Never have I felt such a sense of agreement and connection with a piece of technology.
Yes, I was already liking Jack better the original Siri. I then asked him if I should drink vodka or rum, and because he seemingly couldn't understand what the word rum meant, he pulled up a Wikipedia page on vodka, so it was finally time. I didn't have any vodka at my place, and when Jack offered a slew of addresses to liquor and beer stores that were already closed, I knew I had to seek out the sweet potato water elsewhere—and so, by default, I ended up in the small cave of a venue (to say it has a 75-person capacity might be generous) I end up in every weekend whether I want to or not: Bambi's, an unmarked basement venue in Toronto's west end. Since Siri had no opinion on if it was time to leave for the club yet, I informed him that only losers arrive early, hoping he would learn. He pulled up "Losers" by The Weeknd, and I listened to Beauty Behind the Madness while I got dressed.
But before I left my apartment to go to the club, I told Jack I was hungry—a choice I would later learn was a mistake. "If you ask me...I say broccoli!" Great. I had no broccoli. At this point, I asked if it was cold enough to wear a coat, and when he showed me the weather was hovering around freezing, I took this as a yes. Off I went to my local 24-hour convenience store to buy a green vegetable I normally avoid eating.
I first tried eating it raw, then microwaved, as now I was in quite the rush. After downing an entire small bushel of broccoli in various states of raw and cooked, I asked Jack to pull up my Uber, and off to Bambi's we went.
When I got to the club, I started drinking vodka as per Jack's suggestion. Since the techno was blaring so loudly from the Funktion Ones at the grotto-like venue, I knew I wouldn't be able to talk to him in the main room, so I went to one of the four grimey private bathrooms in the back to attempt to talk to him. He couldn't understand a word I said, even as I cupped my hands around my iPhone while standing in the corner on top of a toilet. I was drunk and repetitively screaming at my phone (OK, I've done this before, but usually there's a person on the other end). Not the highest point in my life at any rate. I tried doing this several times throughout the night, and I got some strange looks when I opened the door from the washroom and was greeted by a line of drunk people who really had to piss. I continued to drink vodka since it was one of the last orders I had taken from Jack, and I did so until last call, at which point I went outside to ask Jack if I should have an afterparty.
He didn't really know what to say, but since I was just falling back to my default life in those indecisive moments by now, I figured if his programming would allow him to circumvent liability, he would probably love to hang out with fellow iPhones. I asked him to pull up Uber, and off we were.
During the after-party at my apartment, Jack kept me grounded. I asked him if I should let my friends smoke inside my place—something I inevitably regret the next day since I don't even fucking smoke cigarettes—and he pulled up an article about house fires. Jack, you are fucking right, this is an awful idea. I was starting to feel like I had a guardian angel of sorts contained in my phone who would protect me from my sus friends.
But like any other night when I have way too many people over at my house post-02:00, I started getting concerned that my neighbours (who have a newborn baby) were going to call the cops on me and file a noise complaint. I closed myself in my bathroom while I fought off a panic attack and asked Jack for advice. Like the impeccable piece of technology that he is, he pulled up a web 2.0 site with a cloudy blue sky background with the follow four steps for how to get rid of a panic attack:
- Stop Negative Thinking.
- Use Coping Statements.
- Accept Your Feelings.
OK, from someone who's had panic attacks for roughly a decade, I can say unequivocally this is some really poor advice. After attempting steps one through three, I knew it wasn't working. Within an hour, the vodka I drank began sneaking up my esophagus, and I started puking, unable to ignore the tiny broccoli florets in my toilet bowl that were without a doubt Jack's fault. I asked him what I should do since I just threw up, and he showed me a Yahoo! Answers thread with some girl's puking story. Really fucking useful, dude.
After I puked, I asked Jack if he liked to party, and he said, "This is about you, Allison, not me." OK. I'll try to keep going I guess. Ugh. I spent the wee hours of the morning until roughly 06:30 struggling to keep my eyes open while my friends' behaviour devolved to the regular weekend occurrence of putting on Disclosure's "Omen" and dancing around screaming the lyrics.
Finally, the sweet, sweet release of sleep took me, and I escaped Jack's control for a handful of hours until I woke up. But when I did open my eyes, Jack was ready to be a whole new kind of useless asshole to me.
I told him I was hungover. Apparently Siri cannot understand what that means, as it reads it as "hung over"—not even one word. If technology doesn't yet not understand the burden of what alcohol does to the human body, how can we hope that it ever will? Based on this communication alone, I cannot be convinced that we will ever be able to level with robots.
I asked if I should get up, and I whined to Jack about how tired. "I'm a little sleepy myself, Allison," Jack tells me. OK, we'll stay in bed I suppose. I ask if I should take Advil. No opinion. Smoke weed? No opinion. Take a shower or bath at the very least? Oh, nope, let me just pull up this random-ass business, M D M Shower & Bath Renovation, which is roughly 45 minutes from where you live. Unfortunately, at this point, I knew I had to go here since Siri pulled it up. Fuck.
Shortly after, I noticed my phone was dying. I asked where my charger was. I told Jack he was dying, and he said, "If you insist." So I graciously let him die, and meanwhile, after hours of struggle, I dragged my hungover ass out of bed, unable to even shower or hit a bong in order to alleviate my hangover due to Jack's ill-informed replies.
I then drove to the address Jack gave me in Bolton, which was a town of about 25,000 outside of Brampton, Ontario. Its features include houses upon houses upon houses that look like cookie-cutter versions of each other, families going on walks to the park, and the occasional school, church, and Tim Hortons. I ended my 24 hours with Siri in a suburban cul de sac, flipping off the intersection Jack had directed me to, on Dingle Court.
It wasn't even the right address.
Though Jack and I went through a lot with each other those 24 hours—a screaming match, a panic attack, puking up broccoli—I learned a valuable lesson about technology. With or without it, I am able to make the poor decisions I make every weekend. But without it, at least I'll feel assured that I'll have enough battery power left in my phone to find my way home.
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