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Are Siri and My Wife the Same Person? 16

Are Siri and My Wife the Same Person?

One day, I was on a ladder washing our second-floor windows. My wife, Wendy, came outside, looked up at me and said, “I think you’re too old to be climbing on ladders.”

The irony is that I regularly get on ladders for firefighter training and just recently hauled a hose up a ladder to help fight a house fire. So, clearly, I am not ready to be “rung” out to dry (see what I did there?).

I understand that Wendy was simply looking out for my well being. In fact, I know several people younger than me who have injured themselves by falling off of ladders. But I don’t think I’m ready to climb down just yet.

A few days after I washed the windows, I was splitting logs for our church’s wood ministry. After the second swing of the axe, my Apple watch started to vibrate and Siri yelled, “Are you OK? Did you fall? Do you need help?”

I responded that I did not fall, that I was simply doing manly work, and that Siri should mind her own business. Later that night, while icing down the knee that I injured when I tripped on the axe and fell into my ladder, I pondered the timing of my wife’s window-washing comment and Siri’s concern about my potential fall. It seemed too coincidental. I had just watched a documentary about cybercrime and I began to wonder if somehow, Wendy had hacked into my watch so she could monitor my activity. I know this sounds ridiculous and as far as I know, Wendy doesn’t have the hacking skills needed to pull something like this off. But she did work for IBM so it’s not totally out of the question. I decided to stay on the alert.

Just a few days later, I was cooking dinner using a new chicken recipe. After putting the chicken in the oven, I turned on a burner for the green beans. Wendy was hovering…er…standing nearby. She looked at the stove and said, “Don’t you think it’s too early to start the green beans?”

Since cooking is a very personal hobby for me, I will readily admit that I’m a little bit fussy about my kitchen. When I cook, I want to be in charge of all of the tasks from start to finish. I take great pride in prepping, cooking, and serving a nice meal. To me, it’s like art. When you pull all of the pieces together, and the recipe comes out as planned, dinner becomes a wonderful gift to share with others. 

So, Wendy’s comment about the green beans caused me to boil, just a bit. First of all, I don’t want any help. I like the autonomy of cooking dinner all by myself. Second, I’m a southerner. There is no scenario where one can start cooking the green beans too early. When I was a kid, my mom cooked them for months. And third, she was absolutely right. I had started the green beans too early because I hadn’t realized how long the chicken would take. I acknowledged my mistake but secretly resented her back seat cooking.

Later, when the chicken came out of the oven, I told Wendy that since I hadn’t made this recipe before, I wanted to check the internal temperature just to make sure the chicken was done. In that instant, my Apple watch started to vibrate and I heard Siri yell, “Here’s what I found. The internal temperature of chicken should be one hundred and sixty-five degrees.”

I made a mental note of the proper temperature and once again told Siri to mind her own business. Then I waited for Wendy to leave the room so I could check to see if my iPhone was tethered to any of her electronic devices. I couldn’t figure that part out, as I never worked for IBM.

Nonetheless, I was convinced that this Wendy-Siri connection wasn’t a coincidence. I mean, it was a coincidence when I got quarantined for COVID that there was an Andy Griffith Show marathon on television. It was a coincidence that on the one day I didn’t visit the restroom before running errands, I was “backed up” in a construction delay on the highway. And it was a coincidence when I walked into a barber shop and they happen to be advertising a sale called “Half Off for Those with Half Off.” As a bald man, I appreciated the reduction (the financial reduction, not the hair reduction).

But the connections between Siri and Wendy were too frequent and too closely aligned to be mere coincidences.

A few days after what I refer to as Green Beangate, Wendy and I were on our way to a store that specializes in local cheeses. We were on a narrow rural road and since the cell service was spotty, the map on my iPhone was experiencing a bit of a delay. It looked like my next turn was about a half mile away. But then, suddenly, my Apple watch began to vibrate and Siri yelled, “Make a U-turn.”

I had missed the turn. On top of that, I had to drive another mile before there was a spot in the road wide enough to turn around. But I finally got back on course and headed for the store. As I came around this one sharp curve, I drove passed a large driveway on my right. Wendy yelled, “That was it! That was it! Make a U-turn!”

I’m not certain but I think I also heard Siri say, “Ditto.”

That confirmed it for me. Wendy and Siri were the same person. Worse, I can’t make one move without one of these women saying something to me. My only hope is that my next iPhone upgrade will break the connection. Otherwise, I’ll have to recalculate everything.


  • Gwen Volk says:

    Ron, with all the erudite articles and tv stories about the dangers of artificial intelligence, your article puts in it a nutshell. This is arguably the best blog you have ever written (if you, in fact, are the writer – or did Siri write this for you?)

  • Angela says:

    This made me giggle. Only what I am thinking I want, perhaps a new pair of shoes, or a purse, I turn my phone on and theres magically an ad for the extact thing I pictured in my mind !!

  • Linda says:

    Thanks for the laugh, I loved it.

  • Briggs Latham says:

    Ron, Once again our paths meet. I was at home and “Alexa” was flashing that there was a message waiting for me. We have been programmed to react to these flashing lights. ‘Pavlovian’ you might say. I figured it was a package that had been delivered. But no…. It was was Alexa wanting to know what she could do for me. She thought I was ready to order some items on Amazon…. So what would I like to order? So I said, “Alexa, Order me up up some ‘Keep your nose out of my business.” About 15 seconds later Alexa started playing some RAP music with some title that was similar to what I had said.
    It really goes to show you that the little voice in your head is real… :)

  • Darla Powell says:

    Your story about “Siri” and your wife is too funny. I can relate to your wife not wanting you to be on a ladder as my husband had an accident involving a ladder which creates the need in me to find myself “hovering” over him. This is hysterical.

  • Mary Drum says:

    Hi Ron, Dennis and I also think “things” like this are connected.
    Not the same thing but I think you will enjoy this story.
    Years ago when cell phones were pretty new, mine made a funny noise after we had turned the lights off. A few seconds later, Siri said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to do that.”
    Sure was good to see you yesterday; hope your game was good.

  • Linda Heuer says:

    Hi Ron,
    My husband Greg relishes telling everybody that I “made him” ( I prefer “strongly urged him”) to get a masculine voice for Siri because he was spending way too much time with her!

  • Bobbe White says:

    Ohhhhh Ron! You’ll never understand how much I appreciate this piece! My husband, Jeff, has an uncanny knack for walking by with a warning. AGAW (always gives a warning!) one time I boiled over like you did with the beans and retorted, “Do you REALLY think I would not put on shoes to clean up this broken glass? Seriously?” He said it’s that voice that most of us hear in our head, but ignore. He makes for sure that the thought is vocalized in his ridiculously low voice. Sounds a little like God’s! He said he’s saved many an accident from happening so he just says it out loud in case I’m not listening to that little voice. Our conversations mostly start with,
    -Don’t forget to…
    -Remember to …
    -Before you _______, make sure you…

    Thank you! It never occurred to me that Apple was my nemesis.

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