The Wrong Setting

I don’t want ‘good morning’ at 6am. No morning that starts at 6am can ever be that good.  At 6am I just want coffee and I don’t want to have to say, ‘Make me coffee’. I just want to switch on the machine and smell the sweet aroma of coffee…read more

I know I have the settings wrong. With the flick of the switch I can make it positive. I probably don’t even need to do that, I can probably just say it out loud and the device will do it. It will tell me I look fabulous today if I do that, although it also reminds me I need to eat Kale for lunch to stay ‘looking this good’.

I liked it at first but now ‘it’ and ‘I’ have had a falling out. The last thing it said to me was that it was talking to my fridge and checking how much milk there was. I wanted to yell at it, ‘I can bloody do that and open the door as well’. As a matter of fact I can see and I mean ‘see’ with my eyes how much milk is left and I can walk to the shop and get some more. Although as it reminded me this morning I have no cash in my wallet. I should care but I just bloody don’t. It has driven me to this point. This cannot be my fault. I wished I had bought a cat and not another bloody device.

This device is living in my house. It is allegedly taking care of everything. And it talks- a lot. It ‘engages’ me in conversation. It lets me know the car needs to be recharged and the milk needs to be renewed. Milk is not renewed, you buy fresh milk you idiot machine. I want to yell this too but I don’t.

Earlier it sensed I was tense and played soothing music. It doesn’t know why I am tense. Which frankly makes it less clever than it thinks it is. Although technically it does not think, it utilises algorithms based on the speed of my walk, the tone of my voice and a full body scan to ascertain my mood. It’s why it is in the kitchen and I am at the other end of the house. I don’t want it to know how tense I am. I want my tension to be private. I want ‘private tension.’

I wonder when it ‘talks’ to the fridge if it uses the same tone that it does with me. Of course, it doesn’t talk like we talk, it sends some code or some signal or some other thing and the fridge just answers and doesn’t give a damn about the annoying voice or the constant attention it needs. I have it set for negativity. My own choice but it means it is terse and rude now.

I don’t even know why they invented a setting for terse and rude-why would you? It also begs the question why am I using that setting, it’s the one I usually save for my boyfriend’s mother. I don’t know why I set it to that. Actually I do know both those things. That setting is for people like me, and the answer to the other bit is just that all that bubbly niceness annoys me. Constant bloody bubbly niceness chills me to the bone. It’s like having the most popular girl in school in your kitchen. Frankly I always thought her and her pony tail were nauseating. I wore black for most of my teen years and I don’t regret it for a second. I earn more than her and until I got this device I had my life together. But it has driven me to this. Constant bubbly bloody niceness. I keep reminding myself it’s not human but a machine, as if you could think otherwise with its slightly metallic sounding voice. Why can’t they get the voice right, so it sounds human. Not that that would help because I do not need a constant bubbly human voice anymore than I need to know that my milk needs ‘renewing’. Have I said that already.

‘Would you like me to renew your milk for you?’ No. I’ve given up milk and gone vegan, can’t you tell by the fact that there is no meat in the fridge. Although I have not gone vegan and there is no meat in the fridge because when it asked about the grocery order, I said no, I don’t want my groceries ordered, I can do it myself. We are at something of a stand off on this point and I am starving which is making me grumpy. I was starving even when there was food because I hate going into the kitchen where that ‘thing’ is. Seriously cannot understand how people love these devices.

When I went into the kitchen last week, it said ‘you have not been in the kitchen for two days. Have you been eating properly? The answer to which was no. Because I had been getting take away- paying using my phone so it would know that was what I was doing. It was in positivity mode so it didn’t comment. Then it had the nerve to say, ‘I know you have been switching the lights on manually yourself, but you know I can do that for you?’ I wanted to scream at it. It is NO ONE’S business how I switch my lights on and there is no need for a prompt. It was at that point that I switched it to negativity. Now it is terse and rude and I can be justifiably rude back. I’m guessing that is another reason why it has that setting.

It has stopped telling me I look good. I don’t care whether something that has no eyes thinks I look good. For the record I suck my stomach in every time  I think I am being scanned-doesn’t everyone. I was beginning to feel like I could only go into the kitchen when I was looking really good. What happened to the Sunday morning slumming it in my pyjamas. That went with this stupid device that would be horrified if I came into the kitchen looking anything less than glamorous. I hate the thing.

It talks to me all the time, every time I walk into the kitchen. I think it’s not designed for shy people. It cheerily says good morning to me every morning, frankly its lucky to still be in one piece. I don’t want ‘good morning’ at 6am. No morning that starts at 6am can ever be that good.  At 6am I just want coffee and I don’t want to have to say, ‘Make me coffee’. I just want to switch on the machine and smell the sweet aroma of coffee. I don’t want it to say, ‘your coffee will be ready in 15 minutes time, after your shower. I am starting the water now.’ I am not a morning person and it’s at this point that I do want to scream at it-I can turn on my own fuckin shower.’ But it does it for me because it’s I pre programmed to switch on my shower at a particular time. A low point yesterday, I confess, I didn’t get in the shower until the programme had stopped it and then had a ‘manual shower’ which should not even be a bloody’ thing. I think it knows. I don’t care

The tension between us, between me and this device has been growing. I think it is time to switch it off. I think it has come down to a decision between it and me and I think it has to be me staying. I like the negativity setting more because I feel justified in swearing at it. There is no other justification for my behaviour. I have friends whose houses are ‘connected’ and they love it. Why can’t I? Because I don’t, because I can do stuff for myself, because I am capable of sorting out a carton of milk. Because my milk is not renewed, it is just fuckin bought from the supermarket, whatever the hell you want to call it.

It doesn’t know I am angry with it and I feel bad but there is no way of telling it. There are some phrases it simply doesn’t understand, ‘I hate you’, I can’t stand you’ I don’t like you’ ‘I am going to smash you with a hammer if you speak to me again’. These phrases it does not understand. An oversight by the developers. I can send it emojis from my phone when it has done something wrong. I think my phone loves it. It has done nothing wrong. Nothing at all. I just don’t like it. Its intrusive. It sounds too metallic, too contrived. I didn’t even like it when I changed the programming so it spoke a different language.

So the time has come. I am going to run from here to the kitchen and pull the plug. I feel bad. It is not the fault of the machine. I am simply not ready for total housel connectivity-is that what they call it. I don’t know how I am going to break the news to my phone, or the milk renewal service. I hope the fridge will forgive me and the car, I will sort some sort of manual calendar entry for recharging the car. And if the lights hate me, there are always candles. I steel myself. It has to be done. I focus and I run.

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