The day is coming. I’ve seen it on an ad for an alarm company. It sells security which translates into tiny cameras spying on your street, your neighbours, capturing police killings and making sure no people of colour are jogging by your house or taking out their garbage.
In this perfect TV-commercial home, run by a perfect white or biracial family with beautiful children, glistening counters, soft sofas and showroom accessories – where did they find those lamps? – life changes with a push of a button or short applause for the wonders of complete indolence. Lights turn off, the thermostat cools the room, the exterior lights go on, the kids fed a sleeping potion and everyone is overcome with the joy of lassitude.
For a few extra bucks, the moon’ll glow full, your breakfast will be cooked and served as your car is warming and the toilet seat warms. Your tampon box will send out warning signals. Right behind this will come the indispensable two words: “Siri, bedtime” and your gizmo will arrange everything. Of course, if you forget a password, user name or security question – “What was the middle name of your first girlfriend’s third dog – the SWAT team might invade, but let’s stay positive. You can order bullet-proof vests online.
Say, “Siri, sex,” and the bed is warmed, the bath is filled, your partner is turned on by a wireless electric device as programmed music plays and electric candles flicker at a romantic wattage established by algorithms written by a 15-year-old.
Soon, if lucky, we’ll be able to tell Siri or its progeny to order a doctor or rigatoni, a lawyer or a Ferrari, flowers or dog food. Or the whole dog. Everything requires no effort. Minimal assembly required. Well, sometimes, not so minimal.
Grocery shopping? How quaint. Every store has a teenager to grab your online order and prowl the lines picking out your tomatoes and cheddar. Maybe they even care if the tomato is edible or been bounced off the floor a few times. Maybe not.
It’s called convenience. It is so trying to turn off lights at night. A drag to shop for food. Even a bigger drag to actually, yew, cook. Clean, steam, fry and roast stuff? Insane. And chewing is a burden requiring movement other than clicking on keys. Meh. Just buy a fridge-full of Styrofoam cups of liquid, processed food substances and slurp your way through several hours of screen time and muscle atrophy.
Order a home gym. Before Pelaton goes bankrupt. It instructs you, measures your progress, pushes you assertively, and – no matter what you look like – the machine’s mirrors reflect a semi naked you in painted-on tights and a push-up bra top to admire your cleavage.
Hunting for a sex partner? Get him or her online. Swipe right, meet for coffee. Well, who needs coffee? Or, Frank Sinatra and fine wine. No affection, commitment, respect, self or otherwise necessary. But, it sure is convenient. And no need to even remember his or her name. They’re just bodies in an endless supply of them. Just a swipe away. Of course, their sex education might well have come online as well, so don’t be surprised if you hookup with a guy wearing a tool belt full of accessories, accompanied by a coterie of adventurous friends. They might join in the fun or live stream on Facebook. A romantic surprise that will outlive you.
And driving? Let the car drive itself while you snooze. You may well arrive alive. Or not. The newest cars have more cameras than a Bar Mitzvah, more flashing lights than a Christmas tree, more beeps and bongs than a French fryer at McDonald’s. Car’s cameras see and hear all. You hope. As does your smart phone. The car will let your car insurance company know how fast you’re driving, how quickly you accelerate and the camera keeps track of where you are.
Google maps will even pinpoint abortion location providers in the U.S. so GOP cretins can subpoena your travel records and bust you for not staying barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen looking after your man, because men know better. It’s obvious by the shape of the planet.
Also, our third hands are a boon for divorce lawyers. The phone knows – sometimes more than your spouse needs to know.
Go out and hear music? Pay for a beer, pay for the musician? Take a bus or a cab or drive and find a place to park? Crazy. Tell Siri what you want to hear and she’ll cue it up for you and Apple will take a buck and tax off your credit card without you even having to get your wallet out. Or move a muscle.
Trails? Flowers? Streams, Mountains? Get a breathtaking screen saver. Make music? Nah. Sample others and string them together and voila, you’re a musician and deejay.
Cashing a paycheque? A quaint notion. With direct deposit and ever-expanding monthly fees, banks also get your money an their fees first. Utilities next. Automatic payment is a marvel. Just not for you. You have a problem with a service provider. Tough shit ‘cause they have your money so the impetus to actually provide the service you’re paying for is somewhat diminished. No one does this better than Bell Canada.
Their business model appears to be: Lie to lasso customer contract, charge more than promised and when you call to complain you are plugged into a man or woman in a far-away land who reads from a succinct script: “I’m so very sorry, sir.”
The glory of all this is that as long as your phone is charged, you don’t have to be. You can grow roots in front of a smart phone and/or iPad.
It’s called convenience. You can conveniently stop living. Siri and Alexi will do it all for you.