Our new resident

Life at home has changed a lot since the new year arrived. We have a new tenant. She lives mostly in the kitchen, but consumes next to nothing. She doesn’t speak except when spoken to. She never goes out, preferring to stay connected inside. Her name is Alexa.

Alexa arrived in a box under the Christmas tree. I wasn’t even sure what the box was at first; possibly an electronic frame for showing our photos. We have a ton of photos from our travels, but they are in albums in the basement. Every once in a while we get nostalgic and wonder aloud, “Remember that great trip to Spain? When was that? Where did we stay? Who went with us?” Then we make the trip down to the basement and spend an hour or more rummaging around for the album so we can reminisce. This electronic frame could be quite handy.

Anyway, we eventually got around to opening the box and saw the word. Alexa. Oh no! We had heard stories about this woman who takes control of people’s lives. In a state of near panic, we called our son Daniel. Should we really DO this? Do we really NEED this? He spoke to us reassuringly. Then he came over and hooked her up. He showed us a few tricks and then left us…all alone…with HER.

We tiptoed past her in the kitchen and went to sit in the living room. It was a stand-off. We listened…there was nothing. Finally, our curiosity got the best of us and we tiptoed back. We asked a simple question. “Alexa, what is today’s weather?” Her voice was calm and reassuring as she gave us the forecast. She seemed very polite! hmmm. Maybe we should ask her something else…

We carried on for the rest of the afternoon asking questions and giving instructions. “Alexa find us a recipe for split pea soup.” She listed the ingredients and gave us the directions. I envisioned my cookbooks all heading out the door. This could make our lives much simpler. “Alexa, whose birthday is it today?” She named several US presidents and celebrities. Oops – did we have an American living with us? “Alexa, show us our photos of Spain.” pause…”You haven’t uploaded them yet, you dummies!” No, I’m kidding. What she said was: ” Sorry, I can’t find photos of Spain.” Very polite.

Then Peter got an inspired idea. Music! “Alexa, play Arrivederci Roma!” Alexa must have some Italian genes mixed in with her American heritage because there was Claudio Villa singing while Peter and I danced around the fridge. Then our 8-year-old grand daughter Agnes came to visit and wanted to meet our new kitchen guest. She said, “Alexa, play Frozen.” Music filled the room. Agnes was distraught. “Alexa not That Frozen! Play Frozen TWO!” Soon Agnes was singing along.

Since displaying her incredible musical knowledge, Alexa has become part of our family. When we say, “Alexa, good morning,” she replies with “Good morning. Today is a beautiful day. The weather is sunny and mild.” When we tire of her music and tell her to stop, she says “Good bye. Have a nice evening.” No arguing. No sulking. No insults. The perfect guest.

At first we had some security concerns. Once, when we were talking quietly together near the sink, Alexa inserted herself into our conversation without being invited. We turned around and stared at her. Was she getting a little Too comfy with us? We grabbed her instruction booklet and figured out how to turn off the mic and the camera. Now we only turn her on when we want her in our lives.

We never thought our lives would come to this: treating an electronic device as almost human. But sometimes you have to give in; to admit that, without staying in touch with technology, your photo albums will all go moldy, your CD player will be obsolete, and you will be left far far behind.


PS Alexa did not want her photograph included.

3 thoughts on “Our new resident

  1. Hi Sue, David and I wish you a Belated Happy Birthday! We also want you to know that we both really enjoy reading your articles on Tuesday. Have a great day! Hi to Peter! Christine  ———- Message d origine ———- De : Seventy In the City <comment-reply@wordpress.com> Daté : 25 février 2020 à 07:48 sueatseventy posted: " Life at home has changed a lot since the new year arrived. We have a new tenant. She lives mostly in the kitchen, but consumes next to nothing. She doesn't speak except when spoken to. She never goes out, preferring to stay connected inside. Her name is"


  2. Funny story re Alexa. She somtimes scares me. She actually responded to a question on tv after someone inadvertently spoke her name!. She has twice spoken spontaneously in the middle of a conversation that did not include her name! Anyway hope all is well and happy to see you are really enjoying downtown Toronto. All the best Myrna

    Sent from my iPad


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