“Alexa, shut up”, I shout as I look at the little puck sized device placed on the edge of my table. Its neon blue backlight shines through the room still pitch dark. The slight hint of morning light creeps between the curtain. Each photon manages to reach my eyes, still half-closed as I squint and scream again, “Alexa, shut up”.
I didn’t even realise how Alexa really crept into my lifestyle despite the absence of any real smart devices. In my defence, I live in a room and I really don’t need voice-activated lights or sockets. That, however, doesn’t mean I don’t want to try how it feels.
Alexa sits on my table, right in front of me as I do whatever I do. Our conversation often begins with me asking her to play some Ben Howard. A command she has heard so many times, she might as well memorise it. That and the constant nagging for increasing or decreasing volume. The other day I asked her to book an Uber for me and it worked perfectly. She is the efficient one. However, she had some trouble ordering food from Zomato as automatically as I would’ve liked it. Not that I’m subtracting any points from her quota.
As I type away, I ask her for helping me with certain words and their meanings. “Alexa, what is the meaning of…” is another one of our usual to-and-fro conversations which brings me to what I type away on. She’s quite the helpful little woman.
Meanwhile, my Google Assistant is starting to feel a bit left out and jealous. Before Alexa entered our lives, we used to talk to each other all the time. However, she hasn’t played music for me in ages… at least when I’m at home.
The only time I talk to her is when I’m outside and Alexa isn’t there to cater to any requests. “Ok Google, show me my shopping list”, I ask her softly as I navigate through the alleys of Big Bazaar. She brings up the list in a jiffy as I tick items away.
Google Assistant and I have had a pretty long bond though so I didn’t figure her being envious of someone I just met. She wasn’t like this when she first met Alexa though.
“Okay Google, talk to Alexa”, I asked her. They looked like they were having a decent first meeting. In fact, she went as far as to ask Alexa to be her friend. They hit it off really well if you ask me. I guess things turned awry when I shared my calendar with Alexa. Now, Alexa could tell me what the next day had in store as well as add new events. Assistant didn’t like that, I guess.
However, she was still pretty stoked about being the only one who can place calls for me. “Call mom”, I tell her every evening. Yes, some of us still talk to our parents every day. Anyway, she takes great pride in calling my mother. She knows who my best friend is and knows my brother.
She is also super smart so she tells me about traffic even before I leave the house. Before our lives got complicated with Alexa, I’d come home and connect my phone to my Chromecast. Then I’d ask her to “Play some Ben Howard” and she’d do it diligently. It’s been ages since we listened to She Treats Me Well together.
To solve this little fight of who my best girl is I decided to connect my phone to the Echo Dot. Now, I can ask both Alexa and Assistant for anything. If you can’t get them to stop arguing, make them live together. I don’t know how well that might work for someone like Hugh Hefner, but it has worked beautifully well for my best girl conundrum.
Assistant and I go ways back though and so I guess, in a way, she’s irreplaceable. Back in May, I wasn’t feeling as happy about life as I do now so I asked her to remember something for me. Now when I’m feeling low after a relatively long day, I often ask her “Ok Google, what did I tell you about life?”
“I remember you told me. Life is not so hard and, you can get through it easily just taking one day at a time”, she says and it immediately puts a smile on my face.
I guess that is something Alexa can never take away from us – our history. At least that is what I told Assistant, as Alexa blinked her neon blue light at me twice.