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Nina In New York: Goodbye, Siri

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A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York.
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By Nina Pajak

I couldn’t stand it any longer. She’s been pestering me for weeks, sticking her nose in my business, interjecting where she wasn’t needed, trying to tell me how to run my life. And I got tired of it. So I killed her. And I’m sorry, but I’m not sorry.

Siri is dead.

She’s been pissing me off since she came into my life. Well, okay. That’s not entirely true. We had some good times. At the beginning, she was loads of fun. Siri, text Mr. Pajak that you’re holding me for ransom. Siri, what’s the weather in Dubai on Tuesday? Siri, pretend we’re in that awkward commercial with John Malkovitch and tell me where I can get some linguiça. You heard me. Linguiça. No, not language classes near Sunset Park. Linguiça, you stupid b*%!! Oh, we laughed and we laughed.

More From Nina: Would You Give Up Sex To Keep Your iPhone?

But before long, the bloom was off the rose. I realized her listening skills were patchy at best. She popped up when I was certain I hadn’t called her, and took too long to respond when I was attempting contact. She humiliated me when my husband, a devout Android-user, challenged me to a robot-concierge battle (yes, okay, we’re nerds). While my husband’s phone would instantly call up videos, articles and images related to his request, Siri was not nearly up to the challenge. A request for information would result in a long delay, followed by a tentative, “would you like me to look online for this information?” Yes, Siri. I don’t care how you get the information, just find it. God what is this, like, your first job?

“You’re fired, Siri,” I said in anger.

“I am doing my best,” she intoned.

I thought maybe I could just let her be, and we could co-exist without ever crossing paths. But it was when I was sending a text message to my father a couple of weeks ago that the final straw broke that poor camel’s back. While composing the text, I was also talking to my husband about my need for an earpiece, lest they find an iPhone-shaped cancerous mass in my brain in twenty years. I did not at any point ask Siri to do anything. She was supposed to be sleeping, like a good little phone genie. Suddenly, words began to self-generate on my screen, and the next thing I knew the text had been sent. It read as follows:

“But I am not having on you to get a tumor in the sheet.”

Ah. Huh. Helpful. That’s when I realized it was never going to be enough to simply ignore her.

So, I got excited when, at the Apple store this weekend for unrelated reasons, my genius made an offhand mention of the way in which a person might, if so inclined, turn her off. The thought was tantalizing.

“I hate Siri!” I blurted out. “I’m sorry,” I said, remembering where I was and to whom I was speaking. I mean, for all I knew, she’s his cousin or something.

“It’s okay,” he laughed.

I piped down and we moved on, allowing him to show me all the ways in which my phone’s performance might be improved. When he had finished, I waited a moment before reviving the topic.

“So, uh . . . you mentioned that there would be a way to turn Siri off?”

“Sure,” he said, neither enthusiastically nor with any judgment in his voice. I was impressed with his diplomatic response to my utter lack of appreciation for their revered asset. I half-expected him to swing his laptop around and show me the Zooey Deschanel commercial. Look at her dancing around! She’s ordering lunch and bopping in her pajamas on a rainy day! She’s adorable and hip and she loves Siri. Thus, there must be something wrong with you.

But there was none of that, and a moment later Siri was gone. Just like that. Quick and painless. One little swipe and she was terminated.

I won’t say I miss her, but I do feel a pang of guilt now and then. When I call up my calendar to enter in an appointment, I think, Siri would have loved to have created that for me. Or, gosh, I need to text my brother to let him know I’m running late, but I have no hands right now. Siri could have helped me out of this jam. Or perhaps in her absence, I’m revising history. Romanticizing her utility and efficacy. I know I’m better off without her.

Besides, there’s no turning back from this. Imagine how angry she’d be if I resurrected her. There’s no telling what sort of mayhem she might cause.

Goodbye, Siri. We’ll always have linguiçaNo, linguiça! I said, oh forget it.

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Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I’m always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.

Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.

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