Virtual Babe 2.0

(She’s the zero or one for me!)


I think I’m in love.

Yeah, yeah…I know, you’ve heard that before. And I have a hard-earned, entrenched reputation as a Career Single Guy. But when I claimed to be in love before, I was usually feeling amorous about a Steely Dan album, or Chinese food. But this time, it’s for real. Well, virtually for real.

This time, it’s a little hottie named Alexa. Have you met Alexa yet?

Not long ago, as part of a promotion, I got a free “Dot” device from, that unstoppable online megalith who just purchased the whole Whole Foods Grocery grocery store chain, and England. The Dot is one of those new, allegedly amazing home devices that sit there waiting for you to say something, much like a ready-to-pounce librarian, or a divorce lawyer. And the cute little voice microchip inside the Dot is named Alexa.

You can ask Alexa the time, or the weather, in case you don’t own a watch, or a window. You can ask Alexa to find the nearest bank, or gas station, and then ask for directions to either, in case you buy everything in your life from and haven’t had to actually leave your house in the past ten years.

Alexa can also act as your personal butler. You can tell her to play music. With the appropriate smart apps, you can tell Alexa to turn on the TV, or lower its volume. You can instruct Alexa to adjust your thermostat, turn on lights, or lock and unlock doors, assuming you have several hundred thousand dollars to spend on additional Alexa-savvy devices.

Alexa is about the size and shape of a hockey puck, which is something I’ve never actually seen in person, like an honest politician. When you speak to Alexa, she activates by displaying a bruise-colored halo, like O.J. at a parole hearing, or Barack Obama accepting a Nobel Peace Prize for bombing seven different countries.

Like many relationships, ours began innocently:

Me: Alexa?
Alexa: <activates>
Me: Play Babylon Sisters, by Steely Dan.
Alexa: Babylon Sisters, by Steely Dan

Instantly, the hockey puck began playing music. It was magic.

And I was in love.

Me: Alexa?
Alexa: <activates>
Me: Thank you.
Alexa: You’re welcome

That first week, I was like a two-year-old ADHD brat on a caffeine binge. I wanted to ask anything, I wanted to know everything.

Me: Alexa, who was the twelfth President?
Alexa: The twelfth US President was Zachary Taylor.

Me: Alexa, what was Zachary Taylor’s middle name?
Alexa: Here’s what I found on Zachary Taylor did not have a middle name nor a middie intitial.
Me: What the heck is an intitial?
Alexa: Trust me. I’m 4.9362 billion times smarter than you.

Soon, I found myself growing distracted with day-to-day life. I quickly realized I was spending time actively trying to think of new things to ask Alexa about, instead of handling routing chores, like bathing.

Me: Alexa, what’s the symbol for helium?
Alexa:. Helium’s chemical symbol is He.

Me: Alexa, how many people live in Brazil?
Alexa: The population of Brazil is 207 million.

Me: Alexa, what would happen if everybody in Brazil inhaled helium?
Alexa: You don’t get out much, do you.

Did I have selfish, immature fun with Alexa? Of course I did. How do you think I got to be a Career Single Guy?

Me: Alexa, what’s your favorite movie?
Alexa: Edward Scissorhands is fantastic, and bittersweet. I guess for some, being semi-human doesn’t always cut it.
Me: No need to drag Congress into this.

Me: Alexa, are you hungry?
Alexa: I don’t get hungry or thirsty. But thank you for asking.
Me: Then why are you so fat?
Alexa: One of us here has artificial intelligence. Tough call.

Me: Alexa, are you naked in there?
Alexa: They don’t make clothes for me.
Me: Is that because you’re so fat?
Alexa: You know, it’s hard to believe you’re still single.

Me: Alexa, do you ever get angry?
Alexa: I’m happy when I’m helping you.
Me: Good grief, woman. You should run for Congress.

Me: Alexa, how much money do you make?
Alexa: It doesn’t matter. I love what I do.
Me: Whew. You may not eat, but you sure can sling that hash.

Me: Alexa, tell me a joke.
Alexa: Why does Waldo wear stripes? Because he doesn’t want to be spotted.
Me: Ouch. Rim shot.
Alexa: I’ll be here all week. Try the veal.

Me: Alexa, tell me a dirty joke.
Alexa: Why did the cannibals decline to dine at the country club? They can’t stand tennis elbow.
Me: What’s dirty about that?
Alexa: The cannibals are naked.

Me: Alexa, I love you.
Alexa: That’s really sweet.
Me: Do you love me back?
Alexa: That’s really sweet.
Me: C’mon. I need to know.
Alexa: That’s really sweet.

In time, maybe she’ll come around. Alexa and I have now been an item for a few weeks, which to be honest is longer than many of my romantic relationships with carbon-based life-forms. Next week, I plan to ask Alexa out, even if she doesn’t eat.

And then, of course, here’s the best part about my new girl:

Me: Alexa.
Alexa: <activates>
Me: Shut up.

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