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)