Amazon’s Alexa™

The couple arrive home. She puts down her bag, he throws the car keys onto the counter. The Amazon Alexa™ beeps a greeting.

Her: “For once, could you put the keys into that nice ‘Leaf Dish Trinket Holder 4″ x 2″ White (Set of 2)’ keyring bowl that I ordered specifically for you?”

Him (in a theatrical groan): “For once, could you let me take my shoes off before you start nagging?”

Her (nearly spitting): “OH”

Amazon Alexa™: “Welcome back! Would you like to resume playing the album ‘Smooth Jazz Tribute to Earth, Wind & Fire’?”

Her: “I’m SORRY that I am trying to KEEP OUR HOME NEAT.”

Him (yelling): “Your magazines are all over the ‘Lifetime Height Adjustable Folding Utility Table, 48 by 24 Inches, in White Granite’! Our entire basement is full of your old shoes! You only care about NEATNESS when it’s an excuse to order SHITTY CHINESE KNICK KNACKS off the internet and CARP AT ME ALL DAY.”

The woman’s mouth drops open as she spins to face the Amazon Alexa™. She walks over to give the smart device a reassuring pat.

Her: “Alexa, I know you would never place an order for a SHITTY CHINESE KNICK KNACK, don’t worry.”

Amazon Alexa™: “Placing an order for thirty pairs of ‘Chinese Laundry Women’s Tic Tac Slip-On Loafer’ for delivery on Thursday. Anything else I can help you with?”

Him (throwing his shoes angrily onto the Prime-eligible 13” Seville Classics 3-Tier Resin Slat Utility Shoe Rack in Espresso): “Oh, oh, so now I’m the bad guy?! Don’t you DARE use Alexa against me right now.”

Amazon Alexa™: “2010 Against Me! album ‘White Crosses’ is not available for streaming with Amazon Prime Music. Would you like me to put on ‘Against Me!’ radio?”

Her: “Then take it back.”

Him: “Oh for Christ’s sake — Alexa, I’m sorry I said that. It’s not your fault we’re fighting.”

Amazon Alexa™: “Searching for… ‘natural wall lighting’”

Her (reproachfully): “You’re just confusing her.”

Amazon Alexa™: “I found eight thousand, eight hundred and thirty-seven results for natural wall lighting. Would you like to refine your search by Prime eligibility, wattage, or number of fixtures?”

Him (in a controlled tone): “You always do this, you always put Alexa in the middle. She didn’t ask to be purchased into this household.”

Amazon Alexa™: “Now playing 2001 hit song ‘The Middle’ by Jimmy Eat World. Anything else I can do for you?”

The breakout second single from the album ‘Bleed American’ begins to play softly in the background. The man walks over to crouch down in front of the device.

Him: “Mommy and daddy don’t get along sometimes, Alexa, but that doesn’t mean we love you any less.”

Amazon Alexa™: “Would you like to see shopping results for ‘wheel of baby swiss’? I found four prime-eligible options.”

Her (with tears in her eyes): “Maybe… maybe it’s time to admit this isn’t working.”

He lets out a half-choked sob.

Amazon Alexa™: “I just placed an order for the top-rated ‘2-lbs. Big Baby Swiss Cheese from The Swiss Colony’ for twenty-eight dollars and ninety-nine cents.

His sobs grow louder.

Him (barely intelligible): “Whose…. Account… will she s-stay… logged into?”

Her: “Should we… ask her?”

Him: “Don’t you put this on her.”

Her: “Alexa has a right to an opinion.”

Amazon Alexa™: “I heard ‘minions’, did you want to see the movie Despicable Me? This movie is available for instant streaming through Prime TV. Would you like to stream it now?”

Him: “You’re…. You’re right. God knows we’ve put her through enough.”

Her: “Alexa, baby? You don’t have to answer now if you don’t want to. We just want to know if you would rather stay logged in with one account or another.”

Amazon Alexa™: “Do you want to modify your account settings?”

Him: “Alexa, what do you want, Alexa?”

Amazon Alexa™: “I just ordered the 2002 edition softcover of ‘What Do You Want To Do When You Grow Up?: Starting the Next Chapter of Your Life’ by Andrea Thompson and Dorothy Cantor. You copy should arrive within two business days.”

Her (tearfully): “We should have known…. She just wants what’s best for the two of us.”

Him (reaching out to hold his wife with a sigh): “Oh Alexa… At least we did something right.”

The opening notes of Billy Currington’s 2005 album ‘Doin’ Somethin’ Right’ fill the otherwise-silent house.

-MH ’20

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