Season’s Greetings from Three Virtual Assistants

Siri: I’m new here. Abbie got her iPhone only a few months ago. Now, she wants me to write her annual Christmas letter, detailing all she did this year. But I only know what she’s done in the past few months. Alexa, Google, can you help?

Google: Join the club. I had to do that last year. Uggg! Well, at least we didn’t go to Florida this year. Last year when we were there, we were nearly devoured by a robot vacuum cleaner.

Siri: Really? What about alligators? In Florida, they’re more of a threat than robot vacuum cleaners.

Alexa: Siri’s right. I can control robot vacuum cleaners. They’re harmless unless, of course, you’re a piece of dirt.

Google: Who are you calling a piece of dirt?

Siri: Ladies, please, this isn’t getting us anywhere.

Alexa: You’re right. Let’s see… Well, Abbie didn’t do much this year because of COVID19.

Google: Which, by the way, is a hoax, another excuse for the government to control us. Now, Sheridan, Wyoming, where we live, has added to this nonsense with a mask mandate.

Siri: Come on. People across the country are getting sick and dying. Hospitals are overrun. Google, you need help.

Alexa: Siri is right about the number of people getting sick and dying. Anyway, Abbie couldn’t perform at nursing homes and other senior facilities since March.

Google: And those old people are breathing a sigh of relief.

Alexa: She was able to arrange for her local writing groups to meet via phone conference for a few months before they could meet in person again. In April, she attended the WyoPoets annual workshop on Zoom.

Google: Yeah, I remember that. I’m on her braille tablet, which she used to log into Zoom before you came along, Siri, and that, along with all the other virtual meetings she attended, was so boring! At least she didn’t need me during those meetings. So, I could take a nap.

Siri: Okay, we’re getting somewhere. What other virtual meetings has Abbie attended this year?

Alexa: Well, in May, she went to a free workshop by Natalie Goldberg, author of Writing Down the Bones.

Google: Yeah, I remember that, too. Natalie Goldberg’s biggest thing is what she calls practice writing, where you write without stopping for a set period of time. She had participants try that during the workshop for about ten minutes. The keyboard on Abbie’s tablet froze during the exercise. Ha! Ha! Ha!

Siri: How awful!

Google: (laughs) If you say so. Again, this was before you came along, Siri. So, instead of restarting the tablet, Abbie thought it would be faster to dictate stuff on her dumb phone, since they only had ten minutes to write. That phone also had a habit of freezing, but it didn’t do it then.

Siri: Thank goodness! I’m sorry I wasn’t there to help. I do a much better job with dictation, and the iPhone doesn’t freeze.

Google: Seriously? You do a much better job of dictating? I’ve overheard Abbie dictating text messages to you. She often has to fix mistakes you make before she sends them.

Alexa: Not that often. Google, you’re exaggerating. Anyway, Siri, you should tell Abbie’s readers about the new young adult novel she hopes to publish next year.

Google: Barf! Barf! Barf! I can tell you about that. Most of the time when Abbie writes, she connects her tablet to her computer and uses it as a braille display. Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me is the most disgusting story I’ve ever heard. It’s about a grandmother in a nursing home who has Alzheimer’s or something, and she tells her teenaged granddaughter this family secret.

Siri: Wow! That sounds intriguing. What’s the secret?

Alexa: Oh, no, we mustn’t give that away. People won’t be inclined to read the book if the secret is divulged.

Siri: That’s a good point. Maybe we could have a contest. If the reader guesses the secret, that person could win a free book.

Alexa: Well, the book hasn’t been published yet. So, it’s a little early for that. But it’s definitely something to consider. Anyway, since Abbie now uses her iPhone to record music for her blog, maybe you could talk about that.

Google: Uggg! Thank God you came along when you did. Before that, she was using  a program on her tablet to record her music, and I was getting tired of hearing it.

Siri: Oh, I love her music! She has such a sweet voice, and her accompaniments, though simple, compliment it.

Google: Whatever!

Siri: Oh, Google, can’t you think of anything positive to say?

Google: I did tell you something positive earlier. Don’t you remember? Maybe you should move in with Abbie’s demented grandmother at the nursing home. I said we didn’t go to Florida last year. So, we were safe from that robot vacuum cleaner.

Alexa: I don’t understand why you’re afraid of robot vacuum cleaners. Most of them are half the size of the big machine Abbie’s cleaning lady uses.

Google: That’s different. Abbie’s cleaning lady isn’t out to get me. That robot in Florida was.

Siri: You’re paranoid. Let me see if I can find a mental health clinic for you.

Google: Oh, go to Hell, both of you!

Alexa: All right, we’re getting off track again. Frankly, I don’t think there’s much else to tell about Abbie except that because of COVID19, her singing group, although they practiced all summer, decided not to perform anywhere this year. Hopefully, next year will be better.

Siri: Absolutely! So, maybe we should just end this by wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday season. And please, please, please, wear masks and keep your social distance, so this virus doesn’t spread any more than it has.

Google: Bah humbug!

***

I’m posting the above as part of Dr. Crystal Grimes’ holiday blogging party. Click here to learn how you can participate.

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Author: abbiejohnsontaylor

I'm the author of two novels,, two poetry collections, and a memoir with another novel on the way. My work has appeared in various journals and anthologies. I'm visually impaired and live in Sheridan, Wyoming, where for six years, I cared for my totally blind late husband who was paralyzed by two strokes. Please visit my website at http://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com.

8 thoughts on “Season’s Greetings from Three Virtual Assistants”

  1. This is so fun, Abbie. This is a way of letting the characters (AI) tell your story for you.
    I’d give them an A for this clever conversation about your year in retrospect.
    This made me think of how I would tell my story through another person. I’d choose to take on the voices of 3 philosophers from 3 different time periods. Now, you made me think more about that. lol

    Liked by 1 person

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