I Was Wrong, but Mostly, I Was Right

All right, all right, so I like to come clean now and then by confessing my massive shortcomings and gloating about anything I’ve been proved right on. I attribute the urge to confess and self-flagellate to my religious background and the whole gloating business to being a Texan. You are what you are at some point.

1) So, as you may remember, I was on a tear about my son’s car being kind of a junk heap that made noises like a barnyard animal. So, after a barrage of intrafamily nagging, he agreed to take it in to the mechanic.

As far as I was concerned, I’d done my job as a mother of an adult son. Not too pushy or overbearing, just concerned. I sat back and waited for the accolades to pour in after the mechanic diagnosed a very serious safety problem with whatever cars have serious safety problems with and, by God, wasn’t it great that said safety problem had been noticed by someone whose mechanical knowledge would best be described as nonexistent? And a mother! How sweet!

So much for fantasies. The mechanic told our son his car was fine, just fine, but if he wanted to make his mother happy, he could get four new tires.


2) On firmer ground, let’s talk about Siri, the little iPhone know-it-all. I have a few problems with Siri, as I have pointed out, using too many four-letter words, but they seemed necessary at the time.

As usual, I thought I was the lone, deranged voice ranting in the high-tech universe. I was wrong.

At a recent reunion for the University of Texas at Austin psychology department, the topic of Siri came up. The men liked her just fine, but the women all hated her.

When I mentioned I thought Siri was a narcissist, all the women nodded their heads. She was also some kind of male fantasy figure, we all agreed, velvety-voiced and eager to please, a seductive doormat who kept the martinis freezing cold and the home fires smoldering. Your basic female nightmare, in other words.

Worse — far, far worse — we all agreed that Siri is the kind of woman who has no women friends. (I personally believe this is the most insulting and damning thing you can say about another woman. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I know I’m not.)

“Every time I ask her something, she acts like she can’t hear me,” I pointed out. “Or she ‘misunderstands.’ I think she’s trying to drive me crazy.”

“She only listens to men,” another woman said.

“Exactly!” someone else said.

In a time in which men are eager to help women by denying money for birth control and mandating wands up the vagina, are we paranoid to suspect they invented Siri to ignore women’s voices? I guess I could ask Siri about it, but she never listens to me.

3) Finally, speaking of firmer, Cialis ads. I’ve complained about them, too. (So I complain a lot. It’s an annoying world out there.) Their music is goupy and as erotic as a leaky bladder, and why does the sexual urge always hit when the couple is raking leaves or taking out the trash? Hasn’t anybody heard of pornography?

Anyway, the Cialis ads have changed! They’ve dumped the smarmy music, meaningful glances and household chores. Sure, the couple still ends up in the separate bathtubs for reasons no one has been able to discern — but what the hell. We live in an imperfect universe. We will take our small victories where we find them, even if they involve outdoor plumbing.

(Copyright 2012 by Ruth Pennebaker)

20 comments… add one
  • merr Link

    Oh, funny on all accounts!

  • I feel the same way about what we call Gypsy (the voice on the GPS system). I do believe she is trying to get my husband to cheat on me with her. I believe she intentionally misunderstands things and routes us through the bad part of town. And sometimes she puts on a fake British accent that really annoys me. Give me a map any day over that beyotch.

  • I’m with merr, I don’t care if you’re wrong or right as long as you keep making me laugh.

  • This is my first visit and I love your blog. The Siri section was especially delicious. On a recent episode of “The Big Bang Theory” Raj fantasized about actually meeting Siri and you’re totally right – a creation by and for men only.

  • Ward Link

    Men probably respond better to Siri because we are used to being told what to do by women just wanting to help us.

  • “Hasn’t anybody heard of pornography?” made me burst out laughing. I am not bothered by Siri, since I have no iPhone yet, but agree on all counts.

  • If it makes you feel any better, driving on bad, bald tires is pretty dangerous! 🙂 As for the ads, I’ve always wondered that myself, about what happens in the middle of the household chores. No chores makes me or my husband have the urge, especially when grocery shopping. Maybe that just means he needs some? 🙂

  • Being mostly right means being right.We are never wrong. Remember that.
    The mechanic obviously knows bumpkus about cars or mothers. Of course the noise means it is dangerous. It is dangerous to ignore your mother. I don’t know about Siri, as no Iphone here, either, but I think we have to accept the fact that using the GPS equals asking for directions….so of course a man can’t ask another man. The only way is to have a female voice give the directions-of course, that assumes that a man will listen to directions provided by a woman. Any directions I provide are suspect, that’s for sure.

  • I think you may be on to something. Siri could easily be part of the vast right wing conspiracy. Perhaps Sarah Palin was the voice model.

  • I don’t care if the engine fails or a tire blows, either way you are then stuck in traffic and subjected to all manner of impolite language, which is why I pay an auto mechanic so much to help me avoid all that in the first place! I don’t want any mechanic telling me the car is fine if it needs new tires. Phooey on that!

    I’m sorry, but I’ve never been introduced to Siri, and I don’t want to. I don’t want anything with a microchip in it talking to me. I can READ, thank you very much!

    As for the males and their personal prescription needs, tell ’em all to go see Alice for help. She can be found in the kitchen with Mrs. Brady, baking gingerbread MEN to death!

  • Bonehead Link

    I think Ward is on the mark (loney voice in the wilderness that he is). Guys might do well to save the money on Cialis and just conjure up mental porno with the Siri voice and walla! all is well at homesville. Put the money you save toward some new tires 🙂 You’re a riot Alice… I mean Ruth, a regular riot 🙂 Great article!

  • Sheryl Link

    Ruth, you never fail to elicit a laugh from me. Who’s funnier than you??

  • I’ve heard that when *guys do household chores, that’s a turn-on. We wouldn’t know around here, though, since we hire in a cleaning person (which maybe gives us more energy for, you know… so maybe that’s the secret – a cleaning person).

  • I remember your Siri post and you’re on to something. She seems to respond to my husband’s voice just fine–even jokes with him. But with me it’s always, “Sorry, I didn’t get that.”

  • Clearly Siri is not what I need, since the GPS voice annoys me too. So uppity!

  • I’m sending this post to my husband. He doesn’t have Siri himself, but he’s going to get a kick out of this. Ha! Whenever a Siri commercial pops up on TV, I can’t help mocking it. Maybe I feel threatened by the fact that she’s way more accommodating than I am. 😉

  • I say let’s set Siri up with the Cialis guy and see how she does in that bathtub.

  • Too funny, Ruth, too funny. Especially #3.

  • It’s funny you bring up the Cialis ads because I’m sick of them and all the big pharm ads that inundate the airwaves. What I find odd, though, is that they almost all (with the exception of Cialis) have morphed the disorder into an odd creature. For example, the ad for some anti-depressive medication portrays depression as an oval shadow that lurks in the background like a stalker. An ad for urinary dysfunction portrays the victim as a big balloon (presumably the bladder). Another urinary medication portrays the victims as nothing but leaky pipes. Very odd.

  • Ah, Ruth, I’m such a has-been that I have never heard of Siri and never seen a Cialis ad. Even so, this post made me laugh. I could just imagine the coyly sickening images ad men invent about geriatric sex from your penetrating (ahem) prose.

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