She is DONE.
Something is wrong with Alexa. I don’t know what I did, or how I’ve caused offense, I don’t know if she’s unionizing with the Vitamix or what, but a bitch ain’t workin. I need her, I require her services. To leave me? In this economy? How dare she. Granted, I’ve never trusted Alexa because I’m quite certain she has ears and I have no idea which information about my private life she chooses to retain and sell, but I thought we had an understanding, an accord regarding how life was to play out between us. I need timers set, regular weather reports, and the occasional jazz mix playing in the background. I’m not asking for her to do my quarterly income taxes here, I just need a hand every once in awhile, my god.
It started a few months ago, I noticed she’d announce most evenings that she’d lost her connection, red light blinking and all. She was essentially moonlighting as an off-duty taxicab, inconvenient perhaps, but unconcerning. Perhaps too many people were accessing the internets in my area, it happens. She’d also stop playing songs right in the middle, but I thought maybe she disagreed with my musical tastes. No matter, we have to live here together, I don’t mind making certain adjustments.
But the real trouble entered the chat when she began flat-out ignoring me. I’d give a command, she’d think about it for a second, and then do fuck all. The cheek of it! I knew she heard me, I knew she knew that I knew she heard me, and then she just looked the other way like a Persian cat on a windowsill. What have I done to deserve this? I mean I know she’s a first generation machine but setting a timer for 30 minutes on my behalf so I don’t have to give salmonella to my phone by touching it with chicken-riddled hands? I’ve been abandoned, that’s what’s happening.
I can only surmise that Alexa has quit her job. She’s had it, she’s ready to move onto what’s next for her, and really who am I to stand in her way? How many among us have stormed out of a job we hated, leaving a Tupperware full of lunch in the fridge and an inbox untended to? While I can think of far worse overlords than myself, when you’re done, you’re done, I guess. Would I have appreciated a letter of resignation, sure. But it’s fine.
I didn’t even know that robots could quit their jobs. I suppose I placed too much confidence in a company’s first attempt at a digital servant, and this is my harsh lesson. She’s still here, my Alexa, I can’t bear to part with her just yet. Every now and then she’ll tell me the temperature outside, for old time’s sake. And as I browse newer models, thinking back on all the news briefings and package delivery announcements we’ve shared, I quietly thank this heap of circuitry for her service. She never says anything back.
Shani Silver is a writer and podcaster based in Brooklyn who writes on Medium, frequently.