Three Women and a Condo
I leaned over the small round Dot with the pulsating ring of light. She was breathing rhythmically. Waiting for me. Waiting to hear my most domineering voice command her to do my bidding.
“Alexa… my love… play ‘I Am the Walrus’ from the Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour album. Full volume.”
“Playing ‘I Am the Walrus,’” she said… The music came blasting out. “I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together. See how they run like pigs from a gun, see how they fly. I’m crying…”
“Yeah, man. Far out.” I flashed back to the ‘60s. What I remember of them I remember fondly. “See how they fly like Lucy in the sky, see how they run. I’m crying…”
My wife rushed into the room, hands over her ears and nudged me aside with an iron-like hip. “Aaaahhhhh. Stop Alexa. Play Beethoven’s Seventh. Low volume.”
“Playing Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony,” Alexa said. Soft instrumentation tinkled out.
“Alexa, Walrus, full volume.”
“Playing ‘I Am the Walrus’,” she said… “Sitting on a cornflake, waiting for the van to come…”
I sang along. “I am the egg man. They are the egg men. I am the walrus. Goo goo g’joob.”
“Alexa,” Pat yelled over one of the greatest anthems to LSD ever written. “Play Beethoven’s Seventh, quickly and quietly.”
“Playing Beethoven,” Alexa said. Tinkling instruments.
I grabbed my iPhone and held the home button down. “What can I help you with?” came up on the screen. “Siri, Tell Alexa, I’m the voice to listen to.”
“Calling Alexa,” Siri said.
Pat grabbed her phone. “Siri, if you want to continue to live on my iPhone, you’ll ignore that.”
“Not calling Alexa,” Siri said.
I looked Pat in the eye. “Beethoven,” I said quickly.
“Walrus,” she yelled before she realized I had tricked her.
“Goo goo g’joob. Goo goo g’joob.”
Pat shut Alexa off.
Jon, the loving son, thought it would be great to buy an Amazon Dot for his Mom. He even set it all up for her. Then he went back to Los Angeles. This introduced Alexa into a household already occupied by Siri and Pat. I learned a long time ago that I couldn’t tell Pat what to do. But Siri and Alexa are supposed to do whatever I ask.
I held the home button down again. “What can I help you with?” came up on the screen again. “Siri, when Alexa comes back on, please tell her that Ernie is the commander-in-chief in this household.”
Pat double-thumbed her phone. “Siri, please tell Ernie that he’s delusional.” Siri sighed.
In reality, Alexa is not the problem. Siri is innocent, too. The real problem is that Pat and I are spending a lot more time at home, together, in close proximity, with all the cancellations happening due to COVID-19. And even though I have a back patio full of bonsai trees that I love to spend quiet time with, pruning and shaping, it has been raining for more than a week. A March miracle they are calling it. I think the Beatles would have described it differently. “See how they smile like pigs in a sty, see how they snide…”
I held up two fingers making a peace sign. “TV?” I suggested.
Pat smiled. “That sounds lovely.” Then she lunged for the remote and snapped on Downton Abbey reruns.
“No way!” I said. “It’s my turn to pick.” I picked up the new Apple TV device, another gift from Jon. I pressed the microphone button. “The Godfather, parts one, two and three,” I said.
Pat knocked the remote out of my hand. “The Crown,” she yelled. “Every episode.”
I grabbed. She held the remote behind her back. We fell on the couch. We wrestled. We made out briefly. Then we wrestled some more.
“Maybe we should just try regular TV.”
“Good idea,” I said. We flipped through the channels. “A wild day on Wall Street…” “The President today announced yet another new plan…” “On the local weather scene, it looks like, well, more rain…”
“Nope!” we both said. The TV went blank.
“Read?” We both reached for the same magazine. We laughed.
“Wanna wrestle some more, Mr. Walrus?” Pat asked.
I dimmed the lights. “Alexa, something… romantic please.”