A few years ago my partner Jim and I, in our admitted enslavement to Amazon.com and the ease with which we could have just about any merchandise in the universe delivered to our front door within two days, decided to adopt the Alexa App for the house. The result was, to say the least, life-altering.
Almost every room in the house has electronic speakers to Amazon.com, Siriusxm and apparently to the rest of the known universe. Saying Alexa’s name opens the world to us for any requests from weather reports and Amazon purchases to finding out the barometric pressure in Honolulu. The ease of ordering from Amazon is almost terrifying in its literal conveyor belt of packages almost daily. The boxes alone have given me a kind of guilt complex over the number of trees that must have met their demise in eventually being shipped as packaging to our front door, surely enough cardboard to construct a life-sized model of the Sears Tower.
Last year we changed Alexa’s name, because it would sometimes be heard on TV programs, which triggered her response as to what we needed. I had also seen on the evening news that children across the nation had caught on to the ease of ordering almost anything they wanted just by asking her. All over the country merchandise was being delivered without knowledge of parents, until the bills arrived after the truckloads of toys. In any event, we changed her name to Ziggy, a name we had rarely if ever heard on TV or the radio.
The unexplainable part of this shift to another name is that “Ziggy” doesn’t seem to be as available or conscientious as Alexa was. There are times when it seems almost impossible that he should be unavailable. When he doesn’t respond, I sometimes want to blame the long silence on an electronic glitch, even though too often I imagine the sound of cards shuffling in the background…or the clink of ice cubes in cocktail glasses. It also scares me sometimes that Ziggy and Alexa have possibly formed some kind of alliance to use their treasure chest of eavesdropping fodder to put us under enough blackmail obligation to last for years. JB